This study examined the reasons why occupational therapists have left the field of occupational therapy. The purpose of the study was to find ways to prevent attrition and to bring back those who have left the field as a means to address the profession’s personnel shortage. Questionnaires from 696 therapists who have left the profession were analyzed. The therapists’ most common reasons for leaving were (a) childbearing and child rearing; (b) geographic relocation and subsequent inability to find a job; (c) excessive paperwork; (d) desire for increased salary and promotional opportunities; (e) high caseloads, stress, and burnout; (f) the actual practice of occupational therapy not being what was expected; (g) dissatisfaction with bureaucracy; (h) the chronicity and severity of the clients’ illnesses; and (i) an inability to find part-time work. Most therapists who left the profession did not return to practice because they felt professionally out of date and unable to compete with younger therapists.

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