Nurse – The Right and Wrong Way to Leave Your Present Job

You’ve accepted another nursing position. You’re excited about the new challenges that lie ahead, and are so ready to be out of your old job. Whoa! Put on the brakes. You have some work to do before you leave. How you say goodbye is important and could affect your future career. Here are some tips about the right and wrong way to leave your present position.

Wrong: Just don’t go back.

Right: Give at least two weeks notice, a month if you’re a supervisor or manager.

You never know how your actions leaving one job may influence other opportunities in the future. Tom, a nurse on my staff, gave me a letter stating he was resigning in two weeks. He worked two days and then started calling in sick. He never returned. I heard he had started his new job and was not able to do both jobs. Most employers respect the fact that you give two weeks’ notice to your present employer since that is what they would like you to do if you leave their facility. About 18 months later, Stan, a former colleague of mine, asked me about Tom who was applying for a position in Stan’s work place.

“He is a good nurse,” I said, “but he did not give us two weeks’ notice when he left.” I do not know if Tom got the job, but his reputation was damaged by his actions.

Wrong: Blast your employer for all their wrongdoings in your resignation letter.

Right: Write a letter to your supervisor that is brief, to the point and courteous.

Everything you say may be 100% true, but you accomplish nothing by airing your grievances as you are preparing to leave. Also, if you do this, you will make your last days uncomfortable for you and your employer. Don’t burn your bridges. You never know when you might have to contact this employer for something you need. Or there might be a position at your former workplace that you want to apply for in the future. Plus, you will like yourself better by taking the high road even if your employer didn’t. In retrospect, you will be glad you did. If your employer offers an exit interview, take advantage of this to discuss your concerns confidentially just before you walk out the door.

It is not unusual for employers in the same geographic area to share information about personnel. If you continue to leave jobs without adequate notice or with angry words, you could become unemployable in the area where you live and want to work.

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