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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Exploring student lived experiences of leave of absence

Miller, Phillip and Newby, Kate (2023) Exploring student lived experiences of leave of absence. In: University of Sunderland Mental Health Conference- Partnerships, 15 Nov 2023, The Fire Station, Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)


Taking a leave of absence (LOA) from a programme of study is a difficult decision for a student to make and can be multifactorial, these generally be categorised into mental health and wellbeing or academic causes.

Despite leaving with the intention of returning, only a proportion of students do so. It has been reported by Naylor, Cox and Cakitaki (2023) that only 51.7% of students return from LOA and these students are 41% less likely to successfully achieve their qualifications. These figures also reflect the current situation within the University of Sunderland where internal reports suggest that a similar figure of approximately 50% of LOA students returning to the institution and roughly half of those then achieving.

With the significant implications for both the students and the university it was deemed important to investigate the lived experiences of students throughout all stages of the LOA process with an aim to identifying how this can be improved with a more positive impact on student wellbeing throughout this process.

This qualitative study was undertaken with all students enrolled to programmes within the School of Nursing and Health Sciences who had taken a LOA within the last three years. These students were then divided into four key groups based upon their most recent enrolment and experiences of LOA were explored. A survey was constructed in Qualtrics with two sections; experiences prior to and during their period of LOA, and regarding return to studies.

Analysis of responses has identified some key recommendations for improvements in policy and practice for management and support of LOA students.

PDF (Exploring student lived experiences of leave of absence)
MH COnf 2023.pdf - Accepted Version

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More Information

Uncontrolled Keywords: leave of absence, withdrawal, break in study, mental health, communication
Depositing User: Kate Newby


Item ID: 17037

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Phillip Miller: ORCID iD
ORCID for Kate Newby: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2023 11:04
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2023 11:04


Author: Phillip Miller ORCID iD
Author: Kate Newby ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Nursing and Health Sciences


Sciences > Health Sciences

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