Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Deborah Lewis


Experienced nurses depart the workforce in significant numbers; therefore, it is critical to understand how those departures affect patient care and safety. The focus of this systematic review included appraisal of recent research to provide an understanding of strategies used in acute care settings to retain experienced nurses. Guided by Benner's model of skill acquisition, the purpose of this systematic review was to identify factors that influence the decision of nurses with experience to leave or remain working in acute care work settings. The 19 articles selected for this review were limited to those pertaining to experienced registered nurses who have worked in the acute care setting for 2 years and longer. The review excluded articles pertaining to registered nurses with fewer than 2 years of experience, who were considered at the novice or proficient level of nursing. The results of this literature review showed that management conflicts, lack of support, work environments, work schedules, and disproportionate staffing levels were among the factors leading to morale distress and burnout in experienced nurses. These findings have the potential to contribute to positive social change by guiding administrative efforts to retain experienced nurses and improve mentoring of newer nurses and, ultimately, improve patient outcomes.

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