As a nurse, there will come a time in your career when you’ll feel called to move to a different area, go back to school, retire, or change nursing specialties. This will often mean that you’ll have to quit your current nursing job in order to progress to the next level in your career.
But if you plan to quit your nursing job, you’ll want to do it right. Here are five things you’ll want to do before you quit your nursing job.
Five Things to do before Quitting a Nursing Job
By following these five simple tips, you’ll avoid unnecessary drama, chaos, or blacklisting.
1. Give your employer an adequate notice.
It can be tempting to leave a job abruptly and avoid all of the awkwardness that goes with quitting, especially if you’re burned out to the max or upset over something that happened on the job.
However, it’s always best practice to give at least a two weeks’ notice. In some situations, you might want to give a 3-4 week notice, especially if the schedules are made that far in advance.
The last thing a nurse manager wants to “notice” is that you suddenly never came back. So, do let them know ahead of time so that they can prepare by hiring a replacement. I’ve heard of nurses quitting without giving a proper notice, and the manager blacklisted them from all of the hospitals within that employer’s network. You definitely don’t want that to happen!
2. Use an official letter of resignation.
Instead of casually saying that you plan to quit (or sending a text message), take time to write up an official letter of resignation, and then hand that to your manager (in person) when you plan to quit. Ask to meet for a moment in his or her office.
This will not only make you appear professional, but you can include all of the details in the letter so your manager can refer to it. Be sure to do the following in the letter:
- Clearly write the last day you plan to work (this will be the official notice).
- Thank the manager for the opportunity he or she gave you to grow and work with the team.
- Offer them words of encouragement for the future.
Be friendly when you hand them the letter, and thank them for the opportunity they gave you to work with the team. You’ll also want to be prepared to explain why your leaving in case the manager asks (going back to school, switching specialties, moving, etc.). It can help to rehearse this a few times.
3. Don’t tell others that you plan to quit before telling your manager.
While it may seem like a good idea to tell your coworkers that you plan to quit, it can actually lead to problems. Coworkers may begin to gossip about you, or they might tell your manager that you’re quitting before you get the chance to tell the manager.
Instead, let your manager know first, and then let your coworkers know, if you feel compelled to do so.
4. Don’t say anything negative about your boss or coworkers.
After giving your notice, you may be tempted to let an irritating coworker or manager know how you really feel about them. However, it’s best to keep your feelings to yourself. Instead, continue to work hard, maintain a professional attitude on the job, and leave with grace and professionalism.
Why? It’s not only the wise thing to do, but it will also help you in the final point:
5. Secure references from your boss or coworker.
You never know when you’ll need a good reference, and this is yet another reason why you don’t want to burn bridges when you quit a nursing job. Before you leave you job, try to get at least 2-3 good references.
Ideally, these references would be coworkers (or managers) that enjoyed working with you, or that you’ve developed friendships with on the job.
Ask them if they mind giving you their name, address, phone number, or email in case you ever need a reference, and offer to be a reference for them as well.
Conclusion: Quit Your Nursing Job the Right Way
By following those five simple tips, you can minimize any drama and leave your job without creating chaos. You’ll give your manager plenty of time to find a replacement, and your coworkers (and patients) will also appreciate your professionalism.