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As a new nurse, should I include my first job on my resume even though I was terminated after three months?

Friday October 18, 2013
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I am a new nurse with three months of experience as a staff nurse at a local hospital. I was let go at the end of my orientation due to three various patient safety events that happened during my training period; luckily none that were serious in nature. Each event was discussed with management, and I was able to learn from my mistakes. Although I was told I am organized, great with patients and their families and was adjusting well to the unit, management was concerned that more patient safety events would occur when on my own.

I have begun my search for a new job and worry how being let go from my first job will affect my opportunities at other hospitals. Do I include my time at this job
on my resume, or do I start my search with a fresh slate so that future employers aren't holding this against me? How would I answer the concern an employer might have of the reason why I was let go? Do you think there is a chance this first hospital I worked at would ever consider rehiring me after I become more experienced in my practice?

New Nurse

Dear Donna replies:

Dear New Nurse,

Because your three-month orientation period was possibly considered "provisional employment," you don't necessary have to view this or present it as a "termination." Since some states have laws requiring nurses to report all places that they worked, you'd probably be best to include this in your work history. Plus, it does count as some experience.

When asked why you left, you can state that you went through orientation, and your manager felt you were not quite ready for whatever type of specialty you were working in, so you were not hired. You can say it was an incredible learning experience, and you have taken additional steps to further support your professional development. One step would be to join and become active in the American Nurses Association (www.ana.org) and/or a specialty association related to your clinical interest. Other steps include working with a nursing mentor through one of the associations or other channels, volunteering at a free clinic or other healthcare setting to enhance your skills, knowledge and confidence, and staying engaged in continuing education classes both live and online, etc.

It is possible once you get some good, verifiable work experience elsewhere, the first hospital you worked at would hire you.

Many new nurses get off to a rocky start and later find their stride. Read “New nurse, new job strategies” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies) for some additional tips about finding a job. You also might find my book, "Your First Year as a Nurse - Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional," helpful in getting yourself acclimated to the profession.

Best wishes,

Donna


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www. Nurse.com/Events.