To provide: (a) an overview of interventions aimed at improving mental health of student or novice nurses; and (b) an evaluation of their effectiveness on dropout‐related outcomes.
Research papers published between January 1971–February 2019 were identified from the following databases: Embase, Medline, PsycInfo, CINAHL, ERIC, the Cochrane Library, Web of Science, and Google Scholar.
We followed the procedures recommended by the Editorial Board of the Cochrane Collaboration Back Review Group. We included peer‐reviewed articles with a quantitative research design, examining interventions aimed at improving mental health of student and novice nurses and their effect on dropout‐related outcomes. The large variation in studies prohibited statistical pooling and a synthesis without meta‐analysis of studies was performed.
We identified 21 studies with three areas of focus: managing stress or stressors (N = 4); facilitating the transition to nursing practice (N = 14); and a combined approach (N = 3). Five studies showed a statistically significant effect on dropout‐related outcomes. The overall risk of bias was high.
A wide range of interventions are available, but the evidence for their effectiveness is limited. There is a need for high‐quality studies in this field, preferably with a randomized controlled design.