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Improving mental health of student and novice nurses to prevent dropout: a systematic review

Publication of Innovations in Care
J.H.A.M. Kox, E.J.M. Bakker, P.D.D.M. Roelofs, | Article | Publication date: 15 June 2020
Aims 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. Design Systematic review. Data sources 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. Review methods 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. Results 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. Conclusion 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.

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