8 Reasons Nurses Get Fired


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.

For those who might be frustrated with their current nursing position, before you do something that might get you fired, try something else, including travel nursing!


84 comments on “8 Reasons Nurses Get Fired”

  1. 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

  2. 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!

  3. 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

  4. 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 ?

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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 –

  9. 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.

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

  11. 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?

  12. 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.

  13. I know this is an old thread but was searching on ways to cope with being fired after orientation. I had trained for 3 weeks as a nursing assistant after retiring from teaching. I had taken care of my terminally ill mother and found that the act of loving and serving provided an excellent second career in health care. I was in orientation for 1 day at which time we were expected to do training videos, 16 per 8 hrs. They couldn’t find me a computer for over an hour which put me behind. I wasn’t allowed to be on the floor without completing the video training. The grumpy nurse running the orientation just walked away from me when I asked if she could find a computer. Now here is where I want wrong: I went to HR and told them that I needed a computer for my training and that grumpy nurse ignored me. The next morning, my job offer was rescinded and I was escorted out the door. Reason: being rude to multiple people. I am beginning to suspect this unorganized, whimsical profession may account for the high turnover of qualified employees.

  14. ya”ll just need to get ya”ll’s job together and be at work on time and be the most happy worker but dont worry i have been fired many times and now i cant find a place to work but it doesnt matter cause all i do is stay home and lay and let my husband do everything and my kids dont even go to school cause we dont have any money but can yall help me find a job and contact and text my number

  15. I am a retired (disabled) RN. I find the site’s warnings all real potential problems… I’ve witnessed all of these pitfall during my career.

    Being a nurse is very difficult on so many levels. I had a good career until the later years (I was quite ill).

    In my early adulthood I mostly worked with men in a factory, highway work and 3 years as a firefighter.

    I never regretting becoming an RN and began a 30 year career of working with women (I’m very fond of them. I was always treated very well and quickly advanced.)

    BUT I never got used to how mean the ladies were to each other…it’s nuts and makes their jobs much more difficult. The stories in these comments are real, and I’ve seen so many Lady Nurses mistreated over the years. Nurses NEED to support each other instead of cruelly chewing each other up.

    I’ve witnessed nurses being mean to patients, especially in the 2o years I spent working in a large county jail. This is flat-out wrong and there probably be regular support groups and workshops to remind ourselves of the problem and ways to prevent it.

    To Stacey: I think a 12-lead on oneself during work hours would be grounds for disciple but I would be astounded if one lost their license because of it.

    To Patti: a nurse having a romantic affair with a patient’s husband should be fired and probably lose their license. That is Outrageously Unprofessional.

    To Male Nurse: I completely disagree if you’re speaking of all the females in the photos. I like them. I have no sense that male nurses are in jeopardy, in fact I believe that male nurses are treated better than their female colleagues. Of course things are smoother if one is kind to others. Another thing is that having a problem of receiving orders from a woman is a problem that might shorten a man’s career.

    Summary: it is imperative that we all be kind to each other. “Pray for peace, y’all”.

  16. My ex filed a false report a week ago accusing me of terrible things. I was issued a warrant and had to obtain a Lawyer. I paid the warrant and the case was dismissed. If my ex calls the Nursing Board about these false accusations will I be fined for being innocent?

  17. What’s up,I log on to your blog named “8 Reasons Nurses Get Fired – Soliant Health” like every week.Your story-telling style is awesome, keep doing what you’re doing! And you can look our website about تحميل افلام.

  18. I am going through a very hard time in nursing for the past year.I had to leave my job of 10yrs because patient volume became very low.I am a widow and need the full time hours.I work in the OR as a circulator.This past year has been a nightmare.Most of the nurses are not very helpful,and the surgical techs can be very undermining (all females).I am at my third job in one year.This job was going a little better until recently.They all think after one month you should know everything.Every day is a new complaint,not finishing my paperwork fast enough,not returning to room to clean fast enough.not setting up fast enough.I feel I am being pulled in a hundred different directions at any given time.I also feel like I am not given enough time to fully assess my patients consent and their knowledge of the procedure,which is really dangerous.I am coming close to leaving nursing for good.

  19. I am a new nurse, this July will be two years. About eight months ago I felt to take off and natural patch at 4 o’clock, and it was removed at 6:45, and I having an IV anabiotic and forgot to pop the seal. Unfortunately these happen a week apart so and I got written up for both. Despite a lot of extenuating circumstances going on outside of work that had me super stressed out, that shouldn’t of happened I know. I knew that one more mistake and I’m out, thanks of been going so well. I had even come to that point where I thought I wanted another job and tried a second job part time, and found that I really really really love my job at the hospital. So I quit it and I’ve been back only at the hospital now for about two months, and really loving it. The other day I got floated to another floor, MedSurg 2. Similar to Med Surg 1, but very different at the same time. I had two patients with a lot going on… And was given a telephone order to order an MRI. I ordered the wrong MRI! And it was completed… By the time we realized it it was too late to get it done that day, and the patient had to get it in the morning. I mediately told my charge nurse, and call the supervisor of the x-ray department. I went and told the patient and he was very understanding surprisingly. I had to fill out a QCRAnd now the head nursing manager over the hospital isInvestigating to determine whether I will be written up or not. My nurse manager called me in yesterday to tell me that if they choose to write me up that I’m done… I am so scared… I really don’t want to lose my job… And I’m afraid that I’m going to have a hard time finding another one. I don’t want to be blacklisted as a nurse!!! Any advice, has anybody else gone through this? Should I quit before I’m actually written up… So it’s not on my record or is it there regardless? I know that’s kind of the chicken s#%* way out of it and that’s not OK…But like I said I’m so scared

  20. Years back whenever a nurse made a mistake it was something to learn from. Experience is what we called it. The importance derived from a mistake, is how to avoid them in the future. Also, what to do and not do next time. In today’s world, mistakes are often dealt with by terminating the nurse. Great nurses, hard working nurses get fired all the time. We live in a world where documentation is more important than patient care. Numbers and percentages is what hospitals use to get reimbursement money from the government. It is understandable why finances are so important to keep the hospital afloat. However, the patient may not necessarily receive the best care despite all the beautiful documentation. It will be interesting to see where all this will lead. Nurses seem to want to distance themselves from the bedside. Most everyone will eventually go back to get their nurse practitioner or go back to school for a different career. Cliques and gossiping are mainstay. Backbiting and which inner circle one belongs has become the norm. The best way to handle these situations is to avoid them. Go to work and focus on your job, focus on your patients, focus on not making mistakes, and remember why you became a nurse in the first place. Losing a nursing job is devastating whether your fault or not. Remember, there are tons of other places that will hire you. And, also, remember that you can go back to school and work toward a different profession that will appreciate you and one that can give you the peace of mind.

  21. Many years ago I did a stint at a County nursing home passing meds mostly. The unit leader had symptoms of a heart attack so I had to attend to that. One patient fell, so mandatory timely checks. I fell a bit behind and triaged and missed some meds such as vitamins, technically a med error which I reported. Then I get called in: “We are reporting you to the BON.” A bit shocked my response was a cool: “Ok, and when I’m asked I’ll comment on the inventory discrepencies that show that most vitamins are never passed out at all since you have a surplus of many hundreds of pills that should not be there. At least I gave mine, even if outside the routine window.” I left in disgust with a “don’t call me and I won’t call you.”

  22. I was terminated from a nursing home job because another nurse accidentally discharged a patient from the computer instead of putting her on a leave of absence, which wiped everything out of the system. In addition to the patient being readmitted at 8pm that night, I was tasked with reentering all of her medications into the computer. I was there till 1am. What I did not do was assign her a bed, which caused her medications to not be sent to the pharmacy.

  23. I fired my last employer ( yes, you read that right, I QUIT – or as I like to say, I fired my job) because they were horrible to me.

    After 1.5 years of dedication with the organization right out of NS, I transferred to a new facility in another state. I had to move because my father was dying of cancer. Well, he went from terminal to actively dying within just a few weeks. They were horrible to me through all of it, but I still stayed.

    They forced me to work a (SCHEDULED) double (17 hours) because I called in sick on a Friday. They considered it a “weekend”, even though I worked every friday as well as every other Sat/Sun. They told me if I didn’t do it i’d be terminated. So, I did it.

    What took the cake was when they asked me (demanded) to come in on my day off (45 min commute) to fix an error in some paperwork, I was not able to do so. They put me in a terrible position to begin with that caused the error, which was innocent and did not harm the patient.

    When I told them I couldn’t go in, they suspended me. First to “investigate” (funny how they didn’t need to investigate before hand when they asked me to come in”. Then it changed to that it was for insubordination.

    So, I emailed my resignation and never looked back. They are all very poor excuses for nurses, IMO.

  24. I have been a nurse for many years, as well as a charge nurse. Lately my nurse manager has been very critical of everything I do. Although I come to work as scheduled and do what I’m asked to do it never seems as if it’s enough. We have 3 charge nurses on day shift and I am one of them. There is also a charge nurse on night shift and I occasional work as charge on nights. There is one particular charge nurse who is friends with the manager, therefore she literally does nothing but sit and talk all day and nothing is said. She even spends a lot of the shift in with the nurse manager and is not a resource to the other staff. This nurse barely completes any of the assigned tasks we are required to do as charge nurses, yet nothing is ever said. All the staff notices and often makes comments. As charge nurse we had to attend a skills lab on how to properly do our nursing rounds. I was told that I did not do a good job in the skills lab and had a written disciplinary action given to me. I was also told I could no longer be charge during the day shift and I’m fine with that. But, I was told I can continue being charge whenever I worked night shift. Is it right to receive disciplinary action for a subpar skills lab which involves no direct patient care? And if I were that horrible why can I still be charge when I work my occasional night shift? I do want any erronous information in my personnel file. What recourse do I have? I feel as thought I’m being singled out.

  25. So my dad went into the hospital on Tuesday afternoon. He had cut off the top of right hand thumb. He goes into the ER and they having him waiting in the ER lobby for about 30-40 mins. His bleeding like there’s no tomorrow. He gets called into get his vitals taken. The nurse asks him to take off some gauze’s and tape he had on his finger. When she sees that blood starts dripping how his hand she tells him to stop. Grabs a bunch of napkins and squeezes his finger. My dad screams of pain and I tell the nurse that why do they still have my dad waiting in the lobby when he literally just cut his finger off. The nurse responds that my dads chopped off finger was not a priority. What can I do or where do I call so I can have that nurse get her nursing license revoked?

  26. My stepmother is almost 80 years old ,still works in an nursing home/rehab . my father had a recent fall. that broke his hip. he has difficulty in walking ,but she told him to get out the car ,go on in and she would park the car. after hip surgery ,she insisted he be sent to her workplace for rehab. after almost 3 months ,he was sent home with her. but she continued to work .bringing him to work with her. Is this allowed? there is more .this is just a tip of the iceburg. can the home for which she works caseworker help get her power of Att. or would this be a conflict.?

  27. Sandra Martinez,
    I’m sorry but your father was not a priority. It was a wound. It wasn’t cardiac arrest or a breathing issue. It was not a life threatening event. I’m sure it was awful but there are plenty of NCLEX questions regarding prioritization and she will never lose her license over a chopped off thumb.

  28. I am a psych nurse. I am really good at what I do. I get to know my patients, and my charting is meticulous. The problem is everywhere I go I keep being undermined by coworkers, and often wind up getting fired. I am in my current job for about a year, and loved it. But I am feeling like the environment has become hostile, and I feel like I will be fired soon. How do I fix this? How do I stop being the target of every RN seeking to eat their own? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  29. I got recently probationary terminated due to failure of disclosing my brother and sis inlaw to the same company. •falsification of employment record•
    Do you think I can lose my nursing license? Pls give me an advice, im worried

  30. I graduated top of my class, had two paid internships,got my BSN, went on to get my first job in L&D which lasted 9 years. I quit there but didn’t give my two weeks notice, and was told I could never be rehired by that company. At that point I did t care much because I had already been offered a better job at another facility closer to home. After 7 years, I was terminated. They said it was for absenteeism. Then I went on to be a travel nurse for 4 years. I was mostly cancelled from those travel jobs and the last one I did I was cancelled, and dnr’d. I got another travel job and was also cancelled and dnr’d. Ok. So I’m not asking for an analysis of my behavior or some sort of rationalization. For every one of those jobs I lost, the reasons they gave me were different. None of them were for negligence or drug abuse, and if there was any common denominator it would be that I ALWAYS GET BULLIED. I ALSO GET BLAMED FOR OTHERS MISTAKES. I refuse to blame anyone or tattle on people when I know something they did was wrong, mostly because once I see that they know what they did, I know they won’t do it again. I find most nurses are so intent on covering their asses, they don’t care who they throw under the bus (me)… now I’m unemployed, ashamed, a single mom with no money and I don’t know what to do. I have used up my unemployment. I know I need to get a job but I also know I won’t be hired because I have been blacklisted. Is there no way to fix this? Am I expected to just die here? How do I support myself and my two kids now? I feel like I’m just stupid and incompetent and I am so lost. If anyone has any suggestions that might help me that would be awesome. I don’t want to hear “well, maybe if you did some inner reflection, or what exactly happened. Or you need to own this”… crap. Obviously I have had months for introspection and for each job I lost I had valid explanations but who cares anyway, at this point I need help with how to survive. And just so people know, my patients never once complained about me, nor did any doctor. It was always the nurses or administration that had issues with me. I loved my job delivering babies. I never had a baby die on me and I truly appreciated the honor of being a labor and delivery nurse. It makes me so sad to think I may have to actually let go of this career I’ve had and loved for so long just because other nurses always made me a target, which I know that we teach people how to treat us, so I am working on that….and I am not a whiner or someone who blames everybody else for their problems… just sometimes, regardless of what it looks
    Like, I know that people can get dealt an unfair hand and I find it just so frustrating that people whose job it is to help and heal and care, in fact don’t care at all. And it’s the actual reason I became a nurse, after seeing a lot of patients being treated poorly myself included. It’s been a rough road but I’m still here. So does anyone out there have a similar story?

  31. Horrible profession for males. The matriarchy is much worse than any “patriarchy”. Women are much crueler and vindictive than any man I’ve ever worked with. I’m desperately trying to leave the profession and let you women enjoy each other. Men are not welcome in nursing and most of them won’t hide it. It’s not just my personal experience, but almost 100% of the guys I know.


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