Institute for Fiscal Studies. Factors associated with staff retention in the NHS acute sector. 2022. (accessed 3 October 2022)

NHS Digital. NHS vacancy statistics England April 2015 – June 2022. 2022. (accessed 3 October 2022)

Nursing and Midwifery Council. Our position on industrial action. 2022. (accessed 3 October 2022)

Nuffield Trust. Peak leaving? A spotlight on nurse leaver rates in the UK. 2022. (accessed 3 October 2022)

Why are nurses leaving?

13 October 2022
Volume 31 · Issue 18

The Nuffield Trust informs us what nurses, nurse managers, directors of nursing and chief nursing officers have known for some time: nurses are leaving the profession in droves (Palmer and Rolewicz, 2022). The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), however, does not seem to have received the memo that in June 2022 there were over 46 800 nursing vacancies. It does not seem to be up to speed with the workforce crisis impacting on individual nurses, their families and patients. The perennial question surfaces again: where is the workforce strategy? It would appear, despite the numerous warnings from august organisations such as the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), The King's Fund and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, that the workforce crisis has been pushed aside with a ‘make do and mend’ attitude.

In the past year more than 40 000 nurses have left our NHS: one in nine of the workforce (Palmer and Rolewicz, 2022; NHS Digital, 2022). Why are they leaving? There is an urgent need to understand and take action regarding the reasons why nurses have left and plan to leave, and also why they stay. Many of those leaving were highly skilled and knowledgeable nurses who had many more years of work left to offer. The number of leavers is almost offsetting new registrations.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Nursing and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for nurses. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to clinical or professional articles

  • Unlimited access to the latest news, blogs and video content