The main factors associated with UK veterinary nurse resignations has been identified by CVS through an examination of veterinary practice data, adding valuable insights to previous survey-based research.
The research was undertaken to support the wider industry in reducing the number of nurses leaving their roles and the sector entirely.
The research found that the most frequent cited reasons for nurses resigning included career progression (36.7 percent), personal reasons (12.9 percent), better pay or benefits (11.9 percent), work-life balance (10.1 percent), relocation (6.8 percent) and no return from parental leave (3.6 percent).
The CVS research identified the factors associated with lower odds of resignation included longer employment tenure (p <0.001) and working at practices with greater property and facilities ratings (p <0.049). Nurse role was associated with future resignations (p = 0.008), with head nurses and student nurses least likely to resign, adding to the evidence to support nursing career pathways. The employee engagement metric, eNPS, was also identified as a reliable indicator of nurse retention reflecting similar findings in other healthcare professions.
Nurse role was associated with future resignations… with head nurses and student nurses least likely to resign, adding to the evidence to support nursing career pathways.
Imogen Schofield, veterinary statistician and epidemiologist at CVS, said: “We want to support the whole industry in reducing the number of nurses leaving their roles and the profession. Little objective industry data is available on the true reasons behind nurse attrition and we believe this is the first study to outline the risk factors for nurse resignations using practice data, providing an important addition to the evidence-base surrounding this complex topic.
What does this mean for nursing roles?
Imogen continues, “Reflecting on our research, that was based on data in 2021, we have since seen our attrition rate fall and our employee engagement measure increase as we have focused on developing career pathways, empowering nurses to take on more responsibilities; developing a range of wellbeing programmes, launching a variety of colleague benefits, and significantly investing in our practices.”
More on the study
The CVS study included the anonymised employment data of 1,642 veterinary nurses working across 418 UK primary-care companion animal veterinary practices at the end of 2020. It included both qualified and student nurses. Of these, 278 (16.9 percent) nurses resigned from their veterinary practice between 1 January to 31 December 2021. The full study results can be read here.