Reports on the progress of British graduates in nursing focus on their early careers, when they are employed full-time Part-time and non-employment is not discussed This paper draws upon a longitudinal study, which began in 1981, to describe the cause and effect of graduates leaving full-time employment The experiences of 45 female graduates in nursing from the University of Hull show that departure from full-time employment is associated especially with the establishment of a stable relationship, with child-rearing and, to a lesser extent, time for personal development