The Making TRACS to Improve Nurse Retention project sought to answer the question of whether the retention rate of registered nursing staff in one hospital can be improved through the collaborative development and use of an evidence-based nurse retention model, to be known as TRACS (Transition, Resilience, Authentic Leadership, Commitment, Support).

The resulting findings have produced a variety of positive and impactful outputs within the context of nurse retention, details of which can be read on our findings and outputs page. More information about the project’s background – along with news and milestones throughout its timeline – can be found below.

Project collaborators

This was a collaborative project between Bournemouth University’s Faculty of Health and Social Sciences (FHSS) and the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (RBCH), and funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing. The Patients Association was acting as an external consultant to the project.

See the latest news from this project

Addressing a recognised issue

Registered nurse retention is a clearly identified problem in healthcare in the UK and more widely, compromising healthcare systems, individuals’ wellbeing and patient care quality. Some factors associated with intention to leave are understood, but ways of improving retention and maintaining that improvement have not been researched. This project addressed that gap, using a collaborative ‘bottom-up’ approach to engender staff empowerment in the process. It was innovative and pragmatic, building on existing research and facilitating active involvement from those working on the ‘shop-floor’.

Project aims

The aim of this project was to find out whether the retention of registered nursing staff can be improved through the use of the TRACS nurse retention model. Developed from an extensive literature review, the TRACS model focuses on key factors known to impact on intention to stay: supporting Transition at key career junctures, building Resilience, facilitating Authentic nurse leadership throughout the organisation, securing Commitment to support changing work practices and providing on-going Support for staff. The TRACS model was implemented and tested for impact using a robust pre- and post-intervention approach.


  • Drawing upon existing evidence to measure key factors associated with intent to leave, both prior to, and after implementation of the TRACS model,
  • Working collaboratively with ‘shop-floor’ nursing staff to develop a Trust-wide plan to address factors linked with intent to leave,
  • Implementing an evidence-based staff retention toolkit in Medicine for the Elderly wards,
  • Evaluating its impact.

Research approach

  • Mixed-method primary research to investigate the impact on nurse retention of a collaboratively developed retention strategy based on the TRACS model within one NHS Trust
  • Transferability of findings to other settings is envisaged
  • Secondary research activities that include a systematic review of the literature around nurse retention and analysis of publicly available recruitment, retention and job satisfaction NHS Trust data.

Project timelines

The project commenced in June 2017 and concluded in September 2019.

Listen to our podcast to find out more about the project: