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How can a nurse fired for insubordination find another position as a nurse?

Thursday October 17, 2013
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Dear Donna:

I am a LPN, and after working as such for six years, I was terminated from my job for insubordination. That was 19 months ago and since then, I have not been able to get a job in nursing. I know DONs do talk with one another. This was my only job after LPN school. I'm in school for my ADN. Will this job affect whether I will be able to get a job as a RN?

Recently Terminated

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Recently Terminated,

As devastating as this is, you are not the first nurse to ever be terminated from a job, and you will be able to move past this as others before you have done.

While I don't know the particulars of your situation, I doubt there is any blacklisting going on. Rather, I suspect you need to use a different approach to find a job and learn how to properly address the termination on subsequent interviews and applications. Read “Picking up the pieces of your career” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Pieces).

It's great that you are pursuing higher education. Additionally, you should volunteer as a nurse while you continue to look for paid employment. Contact your local public health department, a free clinic, hospice, blood bank, American Red Cross, etc. Volunteering gives you new relevant experience to put on your resume, expands your professional network and helps you to hone old skills while learning new ones. Plus, volunteering often leads to paid employment. It's a way to get your foot in the door somewhere.

Contact some nursing agencies about doing part-time and temp work while you seek full-time employment. This can get you over the hurdle and back into the swing of things.

You also need to stay connected to your profession by getting out to local chapter meetings (even as a guest for now) of the American Nurses Association (www.ana.org), National Federation of LPNs (www.nflpn.org) and/or any specialty association that you're interested in working in such as the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses (www.aaacn.org). Networking is well known to be a very effective way to find and get a job, especially when you have obstacles to overcome.

Becoming an RN can give you a chance for a fresh start. In terms of how to respond to the question of why you left your last job, on an application you might state something like: Terminated and the following explanation, which you could also use on a job interview. Depending on what actually did happen, you might say something like, "I was unfortunately let go after six years of great service because of an unresolved dispute with my manager (or whatever happened in your case). In retrospect, I realize I could have handled things differently and have learned a hard lesson from the experience. I assure you nothing like that will ever happen again."

Remember, when what you're doing isn't working, it's time for a new approach: Start volunteering, networking and looking for temp work. Focus on what you have to offer, your six years of nursing experience and the fact that you are actively engaged in advancing your career and your education.

When you focus on the positive, it will become your reality. Move in a forward direction and the right opportunity will eventually present itself.

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.