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20th December 2021 Latest News

Building a Strong Workforce for Renal Nurses

Kathy Hill   Researcher

As a renal nurse herself, Kathy understands the mental and emotional challenges of the job. Now armed with a grant from Kidney, Transplant and Diabetes Research Australia (KTDRA), Kathy is hoping to develop strategies to improve nurses’ experiences to prevent burnout.

“The burden of end stage renal disease is growing in Australia. Renal nurses care for patients receiving treatment up to 18 hours a week and they develop long-term professional relationships,” Kathy said.

“Caring for people burdened by chronic kidney disease with poor outcomes can affect nurses’ mental and emotional wellbeing, making them at risk of stress-related problems, illness, high turnover rates and burnout.”

Renal nurses require additional specialised training over and above the training to be a nurse, making the skillset unique and limiting capacity to fill staff shortages in renal care.

“The reality is, Australia is at risk of a shortage of nurses, which will affect specialised nursing areas such as those in renal care,” Kathy said.

 “We need to ensure our nurses are taken care of in all aspects including their wellbeing.”

Kathy will be conducting her research to understand recruitment, staff retention, job turnover predictors and outcomes for renal care nurses in high stress situations.

“Phase one of the study involves semi structured focus group interviews with renal care nurses in both physical and virtual settings across South Australia,” Kathy said.

“The data we collect will help to inform phase two which is the design of a discrete choice experiment (DCE) survey instrument. This will collect data from a potential sample pool of 2,000+ renal care nurses that are members of the Renal Society of Australasia.

“A DCE survey asks participants to ‘rank’ things that are most important to them which gives us the research data to inform organisations of priorities to support the workforce.”

The key outcomes of this work will provide an in-depth understanding of how renal nurses cope in the healthcare environment and more specifically, the organisational factors that will support the workforce.

“Once we collate all the findings, we can find the gaps and figure out what needs improving which will hopefully, in the long-term, improve the wellbeing of nurses which will lead to higher job satisfaction and retainment.”

KTDRA is proud to support Kathy’s research and we look forward to updating you on her progress.