Home » NurseLife » 5 Reasons Nurses Get Fired (And How To Avoid Them)

5 Reasons Nurses Get Fired (And How To Avoid Them)

Updated on
By Rozzette Cabrera, R.N.

The need for nurses is reaching an all-time high. However, despite this demand, nurses still aren’t safe from hearing the two words most workers dread to hear. Whether you’re the edgy new nurse or the experienced veteran nurse, here are five of the most common reasons why you can get fired–and how to avoid them.

1. Lack of Professionalism

As nurses, you get to deal with a lot of difficult patients every single day. You can have patients who’ll continue to press their call lights even after just five minutes of attending to their needs.

You can also meet short-tempered patients who’ll yell at you for being late because you’re busy attending to another more urgent case.

A lot of nurses get fired for responding negatively to their patients. Although it’s tempting to talk back and respond to your patients, in the same manner, try not to lose your cool. Nurses, no matter how stressful the situation is or difficult the patients are, are expected to maintain professionalism.

No matter how frustrated you get, never respond negatively to your patients.
No matter how frustrated you get, never respond negatively to your patients.


If you’re starting to lose your temper, be polite and excuse yourself. Ask your co-nurses to cover your tasks as you try to regain your composure. Usually, taking a short bathroom break does the trick.

2. Misuse of Social Media

Confidentiality is one of the most valuable lessons nurses learn in nursing school. Unfortunately, however, some nurses seem to forget the code once they log into their social media accounts. Aside from posting pictures of their patients, some nurses turn to the internet to vent out their frustrations about the job and several social issues.

One nurse from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, for example, got fired for posting a hate rant and racist comment in response to an anti-police brutality protest from the same week. The hospital decided to terminate the nurse’s employment as it finds the nurse’s comment inappropriate and out of the hospital’s values and policies.


No matter what your personal purpose is, avoid taking pictures of your patients. It’s unethical and can make you lose both your job and license. It’s also best if you can stay away from posting inflammatory comments on your social media accounts. Although everyone is entitled to expressing his opinion, you should still be cautious as to how and where you express it.

3. Too Many Absences

Hospitals that are short-staffed can require their nurses to take more shifts than usual. If you call in sick at the last minute, the management may find it difficult to find a replacement to cover your shift. In case they don’t find anyone available, the nurses on the floor may need to do more tasks than they are supposed to. This can put them at risk of committing errors and experiencing burn out.

If this happens frequently, there’s a good chance that the hospital will give you your much-needed break. Permanently.


If you’re feeling tired and burnt out about your job, it’s a better idea if you can ask for a few days off. Taking the time to relax and address your work-related stress can give you a chance to renew your energy and perspective about your work.

4. Slipping Drugs

Nurses can experience a lot of pain due to the nature of their work. Because of how common it is, there are nurses who resort to using regulated pain medications for relief. Unfortunately, although they are helpful in alleviating pain, some nurses become highly dependent on them. The more they use it, the more addicted they become.

Aside from misusing these drugs, there are also nurses who slip some of them to their friends and relatives. This can result in the revocation of your license and can also send behind bars.


There are myriad of ways to relieve pain without the use of strong pain medications. If non-pharmacological interventions don’t work, make it a point to consult a doctor before taking any medications. As a nurse, you should be aware of the negative implications of self-medication and drug misuse.

5. Failure to Update License

No matter what state you are working in, you’re required to go through proper licensing and updating to ensure your competency in providing care to your patients. Failure to get your license or update them is equivalent to immediate termination. Unless you get an updated license, you won’t be able to secure a new job in any hospital.


License renewal is usually set at a fixed date. Setting up a reminder a few months or weeks before its actual expiry date can help you keep track of it. Another good idea is to look for a fellow nurse who has the same expiry year as yours and establish accountability for each other.

What other reasons can a nurse get fired? Do you have any other ideas to add to this list?

Rozzette Cabrera is a registered nurse pursuing her childhood dream of becoming a professional writer. She spent a few years putting her profession into practice until she decided to take her chances with freelance writing over a year ago. Her life has never been the same since then.

13 thoughts on “5 Reasons Nurses Get Fired (And How To Avoid Them)”

  1. Nurses get fired as an age out process of hospitals to hire younger, less experienced/lower salary nurses or personnel such as ems that cost less. After 15 years this is what happened to me (I had 28 years experience). Didn’t call out for over 1 year, no drugs, no physician or patient complaints. Even worked 60 hours one week to help out. Don’t ever be fooled, as a nurse, the facility has no loyalty to you.

    • Definitely nothing but facts in your reply! I’ve seen it happen and I still couldn’t believe it. I take my rest when I need it. I know that of I get sick or worse…. I’ll be replaced without hesitation. Take care of you. Thanks for all you hard work❤

  2. My hospital has instituted mandatory COVID vaccine, I do not believe it is ethical to force people to take a drug that doesn’t have full FDA approval and for which there is no long-term research available. We encourage patients to make their own decisions about their health and yet Houston Methodist has decided that their employees do not have the same right. They just threw me away, a Registered Nurse with a MSN and 34 years of experience in critical care. Believe me, nurses mean NOTHING to the people running hospitals!

  3. I got bullied to leave and was burned out. Worked with highly abusive staff. No one wanted to listen. So I quit and changed my mind the next day told me no. Then I got black balled for any other job in the city. Worked out best cause I was able to help care for my ailing parents. Now I’m about to to have a surgery that will keep me out but I do keep up my license RN from 1999 to 2014. I do still keep up my license. Breaks my heart many a time

  4. As a retired psychiatric nurse in the UK, I can understand all nurses worries, holding your words, how do you control pain gained while working, lets cut to the chase, nurses are seen as a commodity, regretably the UKs wonderful NHS is becoming privatised, bit by bit.

    My thoughts and prayers to all nurses, God bless you.

    Name withheld

  5. We are God’s tools for caring His people, and therefore amidst all challenges we shall overcome. What makes me thrive is the principle of working to Satisfy God and the patient in line with nursing license oath. David, RN

  6. So very TRUE. This happened to me in 2022 – fired for the reason “I was not the right fit”
    Mind you this was in OP Surgery Center; I have at least 10 plus years of OR experience (Including admissions and recovery)
    Must be my special age….. I am 58 now, then I was 56…
    Nursing 40 years
    No complaints No drugs No missing work

    M.M. RN

    • Hi Marcy, I’m really sorry to hear about your experience. Being let go with the reason “not the right fit,” especially with your extensive experience and commitment, must have been incredibly frustrating and disheartening. It’s a tough situation many seasoned professionals face, and it’s often not reflective of their skills or dedication.

      Your 40 years in nursing is an incredible achievement, and it’s clear you’ve given a lot to the profession. It’s important to remember that your value and expertise go beyond any one job or role.

      If you’re open to it, this could be a moment to explore new opportunities or areas in nursing where your vast experience would be highly valued. The field is always evolving, and there’s a significant need for nurses with your depth of knowledge.

      If you need to talk more about it or need advice on next steps, feel free to reach out. You’ve got a wealth of experience that’s an asset to the nursing community.

  7. What if the supervisor is playing favoritism and giving your schedule to someone with less tenior? My girlfriend had a set schedule at hoag at one facility and now shes being bounced around to all the hoag hospitals and put on a hecktick schedual that changes every day with hardly any notice.


Leave a Comment

Share to...