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  1. Duffield, Christine PhD, RN
  2. Aitken, Leanne PhD, RN
  3. O'Brien-Pallas, Linda PhD, RN
  4. Wise, Wendy J. GradDipN, RN


Objective: To identify the range of positions to which registered nurses moved when they left the profession and to explore the perceptions of respondents about the skills and experiences gained from performing nursing work.


Background Data: Many nurses do not remain employed in nursing positions for the duration of their working life. This pattern of career change has been seen in many countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada.


Methods: A mailed questionnaire was completed by respondents who had left nursing. This questionnaire covered demographic information, the industry and role in which respondents were currently working, ease of adjustment to the current industry and role, perceptions of the skills they had gained from nursing, reasons for becoming a nurse, and reasons they left nursing.


Results: Many respondents moved to management positions outside the health industry, and most undertook additional study after leaving nursing. In addition, few identified difficulties in adapting to non-nursing employment, and most agreed that their nursing skills and experiences had assisted them in attaining these positions.


Conclusions: The findings are reassuring that employment as a nurse provides invaluable skills for a range of employment prospects should an individual wish to change careers.