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5 Things Nurses Can Do After Getting Fired

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By Rozzette Cabrera, R.N.

Getting fired is a huge blow to us, not only in terms of our career as nurses but personally as well. If you’re not able to get past the experience, you’re likely to get stuck on the same page in fear of experiencing rejection.

Fortunately, however, getting terminated from your job doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to recover. Here are some of the things you can do to reestablish your nursing career.

1. Put things into perspective

For nurses who have worked so hard to earn their licenses, getting fired from work can be a bit difficult to take in. There’s the fear of not being able to work again, losing their license and the anxiety of committing the same mistakes.

Before you can rebuild your nursing career, it’s important that you gain a proper perspective of the things that happened and what may happen. You need to overcome your fear and anxiety to be able to gain back your confidence in your skills. If you won’t be able to convince yourself that you can do the job, employers may also find it hard to believe and hire you.

2. Find a support system

Depression is a common reaction among people who got laid off from work. However, although normal, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can just let it consume you. Most of the time, depression can be accompanied by mood lability, anxiety attacks, and even anger. The effects of being unemployed can make things a lot worse for you, too.

There’s no definite timeline as to when these emotions will put to a screeching halt. It can take weeks or even months before you can get back to your normal self. While adjusting, you can try to be an active member of your nursing group or join one in case you’re not affiliated with any group yet.

“When I was terminated, the first person I reached out to was my clinical instructor from my nursing school. We’ve been friends right after graduation and I was able to work with her sometime in my career. Although I was not able to get my job back, my instructor helped me cope and find a better work,” a 2-year head nurse shared.

3. Seek a volunteer position

Finding a paid job straight after getting fired can be difficult. Instead of hunting for such jobs, you can try applying for a volunteer position. This can help increase your work experience which you can talk about in your next interview. It will also help you adjust to the situation better than sitting at home and feeling frustrated about yourself.

“A few weeks after I got fired, I applied for a volunteer nursing job in one of our local clinics in the area. I decided to apply to the position just to get my mind off of overthinking. I didn’t expect it to happen, but I got hired formally by the same institution just after two months of doing volunteer work for them,” a 28-year old male nurse said.

4. Stay positive

Termination doesn’t always mean you did something bad. Employers can terminate their nurses if they’ve been with them for too many years already. They can also fire employees who are already on the high end of their pay scale. No matter what brought your termination, it’s essential that you keep a positive outlook about your job.

5. Own it

Whatever the reason is for your termination, it’s important that you take responsibility for it. If you don’t own it, you’re likely to blame other people and the situation for what’s happening to you. As a result, you’ll find it hard to talk about your strengths since you’ll be busy badmouthing your previous work.

Take for example the effects of short staffing. If you failed to give or you gave the wrong medications to one of your patients, you can’t put all the blame in your working condition. You should own up to your negligence.

What’s the best way to cope with termination? How do you rebuild your career after a downfall?

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.

3 thoughts on “5 Things Nurses Can Do After Getting Fired”

  1. I am a Nigerian registered nurse.currently practicing in an international firm in Nigeria.i wish to know the steps i can take to become a licence nurse in Canada or in the oversea.i love to travel,learn different culture and i currently seek to improve on my career as a nurse.

  2. The most frustrating thing is when you get fired simply because a nurse wants to fire you… and then you’re not even told that you’ve been fired. So you call into work every day asking about shift availability, only to be told that “there are no shifts available”. Later, you find out from patients that they had been requesting you and they were told that “you’re not available”.

    It’s sad when you’ve done everything the firing nurse has asked you to do… driving over 100 miles to pick up her paperwork… meeting her at the rural grocery store at 0500 to give her, her paperwork. Going out to assignments and finding the patient when she wouldn’t even give you the patient’s demograpic basics such as their address. (of course, it would have been a HIPPA violation to go door to door explaining that you’re a home health RN looking for Mr. So and So… so instead, you go door to door telling people that you’re the Avon lady until someone tells you where the patient lives).

    It’s sad when you go home and spend a month calling in for shifts before you finally get the idea that you’ve possibility been made redundant. You look for volunteer positions but find nothing – so you volunteer at the local restaurant to wash the dishes just to keep your mind off of the anxiety and the feeling that you’ll lose your home if you don’t find work soon. You finally get work with a travelling fair putting children in plastic bubbles and throwing them into a pool of water. You make $10.00 for this. It buys some groceries.

    You stop eating three meals a day and cut down to one Top Ramen once a day. You keep applying for jobs. There is a supposed “nursing shortage” but no one wants to train nurses.

    You can’t understand why that nurse decided to bully you, especially after you’d done everything she asked you to do no matter how unreasonable.

    Later, you watch that bully-nurse get promotion after promotion.


    You report the bullying. Your co workers report the bullying. Nothing happens. Bullies prosper.

    Welcome to nursing.

  3. I was a relief charge nurse in an ER where my colleges could tell you I excelled at my job; interaction with patients and providers, picking up on clinical symptoms and reporting, excellent charting.

    My downfall came after a traumatic incident in my life where as one might say, I fell off the wagon into substance abuse for a short time. It’s been 7 years, and I know I don’t want to put myself in a situation of handling controlled substances again, but that doesn’t discredit my calling of being able to relate to patients and recognize issues/symptoms that I know is beneficial to them in a healthcare setting. I went from the “go to” nurse that physicians trusted my knowledge and experience to a response to traumatic event that was handled very poorly on my side.

    I’m searching for some kind of position, even telephone triage, where I can use those abilities without an employer looking at me as a recovering addict. It’s not something I’ve struggled with since and honestly without the access it’s never been something I searched out. Any ideas?


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