Recovering When You’re Fired From A Nursing Job, The Nurse Keith Show, EPS 61

Here on episode 61 of The Nurse Keith Show, we’re talking about

getting fired and recovering.

When a nurse is fired from a position, many questions can arise about how to move on, how to reinvigorate a (temporarily) stalled nursing career, and how to respond to inquiries about why this particular nurse left her previous position. Getting fired isn’t a picnic, but it’s also not the end of the world. Many nurses and other professionals have been fired, and they’ve picked themselves up and continued marching towards a positive future.

Fired? You can recover, nurse!

The circumstances of being fired are different for each person and every situation. Some details to consider are:

  • What is the “story” behind your being fired?
  • Did you make an error that will be reported to the Board of Nursing?
  • Did you engage in behavior that was questionable and needs to be addressed?
  • Was the firing legitimate, or do you have cause to file a grievance?
  • Were you simply laid off because your position was downsized or eliminated?
  • Is this part of a pattern in your career, or is it simply a solitary event?
  • Who are your allies at your former place of employment?
  • How will you “spin” this story when questioned about it during an interview?

Soul Searching

Being fired delivers a golden opportunity for soul-searching to your very doorstep.

  • Is there something about you or your way of working that needs to change?
  • Do you bear any responsibility for being fired?
  • What contributed to the situation, and what could you have had control over, if anything?
  • Review your activities and habits: is this event a hint that something needs to change?
  • What can you take responsibility for vis-a-vis this situation?
  • Does the type of nursing you were doing still feel viable and attractive to you?
  • What opportunities are arising from this disappointing circumstance?
  • How can you transform this situation from crisis to opportunity?
  • Is it time for a 360-degree review of your workstyle and lifestyle?

NurseKeith and American Sentinel UniversityMoving On

Moving on from being fired from a nursing position calls for a multifaceted strategic approach. Here are some ideas:

  • If you have filed a grievance with the employer who terminated you, follow up on that complaint assiduously. If the firing is deemed invalid or inappropriate, have it expunged from your employment record. If the Board of Nursing was notified by the employer of your firing, have that record cleaned up, as well.
  • If there is a mark against your nursing license resulting from this situation, meet with a representative of the Board of Nursing and ask for assistance in turning the situation around. If some sort of correction program is mandated, comply 100% with the demands of the program, and make sure your cooperation and completion are fully documented.
  • Seek help from a career coach, career counselor, or other professional with appropriate skills. If the circumstances have caused you considerable emotional distress, also seek out a psychotherapist or counselor to help you with the emotional trauma of being fired.
  • Volunteer: Opportunities for potential employment and networking from volunteer work may bear fruit.
  • Network: Alert your network and activate your allies; lean on networking for getting back in the game and finding people who will be in our corner and advocate for you.
  • Meet with other nurses who can give you support when you need it most.
  • Boost your self-esteem in any way possible.
  • How can you find a renewed sense of dedication, joy, and motivation?
  • Practice for interview questions that have the capacity to make you sweat and squirm.
  • Learn a new skill or accumulate new knowledge; engage your nursing brain; find ways to increase your marketability and attractiveness as an applicant/job candidate.
  • In assessing new employment opportunities, do your due diligence and try to speak with people who have worked—or continue to work—for the employer. What is the track record of firings and hirings? Are there many grievances against this employer? Do you think employees are being set up for failure?
  • If you end up in a situation where you feel like your employer or manager is trying to set you up for failure or otherwise sabotage you, get out while you can before something happens. Protect your license!

Please listen to episode 61 for the details of the above, as well as some inspiring words to keep you going at a difficult time! My thanks to listener Heather for the questions that inspired this episode!


NurseKeith and American Sentinel UniversityThis episode of The Nurse Keith Show is sponsored by the good folks at American Sentinel University. As a fully accredited online university, American Sentinel offers a variety of courses related to healthcare and nursing, including RN to BSN, and five MSN programs: Informatics, Case Management, Nursing Education, Nursing Management, and Infection Prevention and Control. They offer an RN to BSN/MSN, a program, as well as two tracks for those wishing to pursue a Doctorate of Nursing Practice. American Sentinel also offers a certificate in Prevention and Control that assists clinicians in acquiring the knowledge they need to develop best practices for infection prevention and control. Please visit for more information.


The Nurse Keith Show is adroitly edited and produced by Tim Hallowell of The; social media and promotion are expertly handled by Mark Capispisan.

Please consider leaving a review of The Nurse Keith Show over on iTunes; this helps more nurses and healthcare professionals find the show and benefit from the information being shared. Just visit iTunes, click on the iTunes store, search for The Nurse Keith Show under podcasts, and leave a review, and voila. Thanks!

Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BCKeith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.

Keith is co-host of, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith is also the resident nursing career expert at

A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and currently writes for MultiViews News Service,, StaffGarden, and Working Nurse Magazine.

Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives.

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