Review Approach

A realist synthesis approach will be used as the implementation, use and impacts of nursing workforce planning tools will be complex and context dependent. A realist review will facilitate an understanding of how different approaches may work in different settings to result in particular impacts. Realist synthesis methods are developing (Wong et al., 2013), including through the work of members of this team (Rycroft-Malone et al., 2012), and offer the potential to investigate complex issues such as the implementation of workforce planning technologies. A realist review will result in explanatory statements about what works, for whom, how, and why, and offers the potential for practical solutions to challenges within the implementation of workforce planning technologies.

Our realist review will be conducted in four phases over 18 months with embedded stakeholder engagement throughout:

Phase 1: Programme theory and development
Phase 2: Retrieval, review, and synthesis
Phase 3: Testing and refining programme theories
Phase 4: Actionable recommendations and knowledge mobilisation