Background: Nurse shortage is an international issue that has adverse effects on health and the quality of care of whole populations. Aims: The study aimed to explore attrition experienced by return-To-practice students attending higher education institutions in England. Methods: A mixed-methods design, involving questionnaires (n=114) and in-depth interviews (n=20), was used. Findings: Just over half (52%) of respondents left nursing after 10 years. Most of these (84%) stayed in alternative employment during their break from nursing. There were two distinct reasons for leaving nursing: The inability to maintain a positive work/life balance and a lack of opportunity for career advancement while retaining nursing registration. Respondents reflected positively on their nursing experience yet frequently reported significant personal or professional incidents prompting their decision to leave. Conclusion: The reasons nurses leave are complex. Professional bodies and managers need to work together to address concerns many nurses have during their careers that lead to them deciding to leave the profession.