8 Reasons Nurses Get Fired

by Tera Tuten on November 17, 2011

Donald Trump might have turned the words “You’re fired!” into a pop culture phrase, but the reality is no one likes to hear those words; not even nurses. Over the years, interest in nursing careers has almost doubled, due to the health sector creating over 500,000 new jobs every year.

Despite the huge demand for trained individuals, nurses still find themselves facing the chopping block. Whether considering a career in nursing, or you are currently employed as a nurse, learning the common reasons nurses get fired can help you avoid a day of judgment.

1. Giving into Temptation—Abuse of Prescription Drugs

A recent study of nurses discovered that 2-5% of those who worked as an RN, or registered nurse, admitted to having a prescription drug addiction, and another 5-10% confessed to having tried patient medication at some point in their career.

2. Demand for Perfection—Making Too Many Mistakes

Some career choices give you the luxury to make mistakes and learn from them. With a career as a nurse, there isn’t the opportunity to make a mistake while on the job. One wrong choice or error as a nurse could have fatal consequences for the patient.

3. Cyberspace Collides With Reality — Facebook Usage & Information

Nurses follow a strict code of conduct, and vow to keep the privacy of a patient. However, some nurses develop blabbermouth, or in this case, blabber-fingers on the Internet and break these codes by sharing anything and everything on Facebook. No matter how vague the reference, if you violate job responsibilities you’ll find more time for Facebook, as you’ll be out of a job.

4. Put On a Happy Face—Grumpy or Negative Attitude

Part of the job description for a nurse is to be a comfort for. In fact, studies have shown that positive nursing can lead to a speedy and complete recovery. Everyone has bad days where you feel like moping around and taking it out on the world. However, nurses are required to push those days aside and put on a happy face for the patients in their care.

5. Obtain Proper Licensing—Failure to Renew or Receive Nursing License

Nurses all over the country are required to obtain a current and valid nursing license. While the process for gaining a nursing license is different in every state, the consequence for not obtaining the license is similar across the board. Failure to renew or obtain a nursing license result in automatic termination and could prevent you from gaining a job in nursing in other states.

6. Patient Treatment—Abuse of Patients

It can be hard to believe that someone who devotes so much time to learn how to care and treat ill patients could abuse them, but 6% of all hospitals and nursing homes were cited for cases of patient abuse. Patient abuse ranges from neglect, physical roughness, verbal abuse, and failure to administer recommended medical treatment. Employers take patient abuse seriously and after an investigation will terminate anyone caught engaging in such an activity.

7. The Disappearing Act—Too Many Absences

Every job hates having to find a replacement when someone calls in sick or takes off of work. However, with the lack of nurses and knowledge required to perform the job, finding a replacement nurse at the last minute can be tough. Nurses who have too many absences, whether excused or unexcused, could find themselves getting more than their desired time off.

8. Inner Politics—Proper Handling of Management

Nurses need to learn how to address concerns and problems they may have with their work environment in a respectful and politically correct manner that won’t attract the attention of upper management or those in charge. Too much attention drawn on you from upper management could result in having all aspects of your job placed under a microscope and examined until they find grounds for termination.

Avoid Hearing “You’re fired!”

With so many people worried about losing their jobs due to the economy, why would you want to place your nursing career on the line by committing some of these popular reasons for termination. After all, unless you are being fired by Donald Trump himself, hearing the words “you’re fired” isn’t all that thrilling or exciting.


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie 06.11.16 at 12:17 am

I was terminated for a wrong needle count during shift change and not calling for an x-ray even though the case was only half way done. I informed the other nurse the count was off but that all my needle packages said i had seven, the scrub nurse had seven packages as well with seven needles on the field. Also there was two other nurses in the OR at the time who could have put up the extra suture and not accounted for in the count. So let me back up a little bit I am a circulating nurse in the OR, my company sent me there as a circulating nurse but when i arrived i was told i was going to be used as a surgical tech, I have not scrubbed a case in 9 years, i felt is was not safe for me to do so with out training. When i told the charge nurse she said they would not be able to keep me. They then changed their minds and said they would use me as a nurse and use one of their RN’s who was trained to scrub and the surgical tech, the day they got a traveling surgical tech I was let go for the incorrect count. Well today i was in a case and the needle count was off by one, the nurse said well our packages all come out the same so we are okay. The nurse used the packages as well as the supply list to reconcile the count. Hummm

Michelle 06.20.16 at 6:19 pm

I am a brand new lvn and took a job in corrections after being out of school for a year. It was a great job. But I was overwhelmed, intimidated and too slow. I ended up being let go at the end of orientation. I did make mistakes. I feel so awful about losing my job but I guess it just wasn’t the right place for me as a newbie. I left on good terms and my supervisor did say ” you are a terrific person.” Any advice for getting over this and moving forward would be really appreciated, thank you!

Nurse 25 07.01.16 at 12:26 am

Can a nurse have her license investigated for accusations of sleeping on her case at her home health case 15 days after she was terminated from the employer because a report was made after the fact yet she had this case for over a year

Glen Robertson 07.11.16 at 11:11 pm

Is it possible for a nurse to be terminated for actions/ behavior off the job or on vacation ? If sayou. You get intoxicated or someone complains about your clothing/ costume on facebook,twitter,MySpace, etc… so how much of your private ,personal life could affect your nursing career ?

Angelina 07.20.16 at 12:27 am

I have resigned from a home health agency job, turned in my last visits and charts, now I was told to do 3 more discharges of patients I have not seen for months.
I don’t get paid doing discharge paper work unless I see a pt.
Should I be doing these since I already quit my job.

Male nurse 08.20.16 at 12:00 pm

These pictures are a tad sexist

suse 09.22.16 at 3:28 am

Can a nurse get fired for calling in sick when she WAS sick but she forgot she was able to access her email to get some vital information, and had to go in to get what she needed from her email at work?
A prickly newer nurse is sticking her nose up the head nurses ass and told the head nurse that the nurses were in distress to see her come into work for an email when she called in sick and now that nurse is being taken to HR to explaine herself to her behaviour.
I think its BS
if that nurse was thinking right she would be thinking properly and not had gone in, in the first place…. That proves she was sick. No?

Email me @ susie85@icloud.com

JustaNurse 12.13.16 at 1:32 am

To answer Glen’s question: in some states yes you can be fired for what you do in your personal life especially if drugs or alcohol are involved. I have heard lots of stories of nurses being fired after receiving a DUI for example. If you do go out for drinks with friends, drink responsibly and don’t let the pictures get on Facebook. And for sure don’t drive yourself home.

Lynne Baldwin 12.24.16 at 11:25 am

I work on a small rehab unit. The mgr is new to her job (8 mos) and has just given me my (2nd in the line of 3, (3rd) which could be termination) written warning that I had to sign. I missed doing a dressing change and updating IV tubing. I feel a warning would have been more acceptable than a written notice – and now I have to make one more mistake and I’m out. I feel as if I am under a microscope now and am so fearful of losing my job. I cannot transfer anywhere else in the hospital because of this happening and I know my mgr would not give me a good eval to do so. I also know that it will be just a matter of time before I make another mistake, because I am human. Any advice? Thank you –

Susan 02.06.17 at 7:33 pm

I was on orientation and my patient was getting septic. My preceptor did not want to call the doctor. My preceptor had been an RN for 3 years and had very little experience. I took it upon myself to call the MD and the patient was transferred off the unit to a higher level of care. I told my preceptor I needed a new preceptor as I could not communicate with her. We also had a patient who was in pain and terminal. He was crying out for God to kill him. My preceptor refused to call the doctor for a different pain medication stating the patient was confused and was not acting normal. I called and got something else for this patients pain. I value safe and effective patient care.

The preceptor retaliated and got her friends to write me up and went to management and said many things that were not true. As a result I was fired.

Now I am left looking for another job and having to explain in an interview why I was fired….and what I learned form it. I did the right thing and I would do it again in the given situation.

mona 02.08.17 at 9:33 pm

when patient fall during shift report and 2 min after shift end which nurse responsibilyis to check patient and take over

Patti 02.14.17 at 5:13 am

Can a nurse lose her license after she has been taking care of a dying woman in her home and has an affair with her husband?

Rebecca 02.16.17 at 6:53 am

i got employed as a Aged care nurse and I was absolutely loving my job, it put a smile on my face being able to give back to the elderly. I was still on probation for another 5 months and being called to managers office getting told that I wasn’t a good match for the job and being told I was terminated without reasons of why I was being terminated.

I have been kicking myself ever since being told that I am no longer working as a Aged Care Nurse has been the worst couple of days.

I still don’t know what I did wrong because they didn’t tell me the reasons as to why I was being terminated.


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