How to Quit a Job in Nursing

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Written by Kathleen Walder Content Writer, IntelyCare
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Reviewed by Morganne Skinner, BSN Content Writer, IntelyCare
Nurse saying goodbye to former employer

Sometimes you just have to let it go. A job, that is. Knowing how to quit a job with your reputation intact can be stressful. And knowing how to quit a job you just started can be especially troublesome. Resigning can be easier to manage if you follow a few suggestions and some hard-and-fast rules about how to professionally quit a job.

Why Are You Quitting Your Job?

This is an important question to ask yourself. If your first response is, “Because I hate my job,” try to define why you feel that way. Do you hate it because you dislike your boss or coworkers? Are you disappointed that you didn’t get a raise this year? Are you overly stressed or in need of self-care? Focusing on what you do and don’t want in a job can help you move ahead with your plans and diffuse any anger you might be feeling.

Don’t threaten to resign from a job to get a raise or change in schedule. If that’s what you’re after, you must discuss it with your supervisor. Don’t resign unless you have a plan for what you’ll do next, even if that plan is to look for a job. The best advice on how to quit a nursing job (or any job, for that matter) is that it’s easier to get a job when you already have one.

Your boss will likely ask why you are leaving. You are not obligated to disclose your next step, but it might protect your reputation if your leaving is not cloaked in secrecy. You may need a reference from the company, or you may encounter someone related to the company later in your career. Tell your boss why you’re quitting before you tell your coworkers. This is part of how to quit a job respectfully.

How to Quit a Job in Nursing Professionally

Leaving a nursing job involves some special considerations. Your organization may have policies about resignations. Check your employee handbook and consider having a confidential talk with someone from HR before you finalize your plans.

You may need to give more than the typical two weeks’ advance notice for the safety and continuity of care for patients in some healthcare facilities. Check your employee handbook. Leaving without reasonable notice (walking off the job) puts your patients and coworkers in potential danger. It can also cause you to lose your professional license.

What to Do Before You Quit

Take the following steps to help ensure you are quitting professionally with your reputation intact, as well as protecting your well-being.

1. Have Enough Money to Cover Expenses

Calculate how much money you will need after transitioning out of your current job, especially if you leave for a position that doesn’t start immediately. It’s recommended that you save enough money to cover expenses for three to six months. One way to earn money in the interim? Pick up per diem shifts that allow you to work when and where you want.

2. Update Your Resume

If you were job hunting, you might have already updated your resume to include accomplishments in your current job. If not, take some time to do this while it’s still fresh in your mind just in case an opportunity arises later.

3. Write a Professional Resignation Letter

This is a staple of knowing how to quit a job. Prepare a resignation letter before you speak with your supervisor. You may give it to them when you meet or immediately after. Then provide a copy to HR.

4. Say Goodbye to Your Coworkers

Your supervisor may announce your departure. Regardless, be sure to formally communicate it to your coworkers with an expression of thanks.

5. Work Hard Until the End

It can be tempting to slack off when counting the days before you leave. Maintain your professionalism and avoid dumping extra work on your coworkers. This includes training your replacement, organizing your files, and completing projects. Depending on your position, you can offer to be available to answer questions for a certain amount of time after you leave.

6. Attend an Exit Interview

Some HR departments routinely conduct exit interviews with employees before they leave. This is the time to give constructive feedback about the facility or your manager. Keep it positive, even if you are going under adverse circumstances.

How to Quit a Job You Just Started

You might feel disappointed immediately or after a few weeks in a new job. If you’re unsure how to quit a nursing job you just started, give it enough time to know whether it’s truly a poor fit. Don’t be discouraged and leave after one bad shift or encounter with a coworker. If you’re coming into a job where others have worked together for a long time, know you are likely to feel left out until the others get to know you.

If a troublesome situation continues or escalates for several months, it might make sense to consider resigning. Talk to your supervisor about your difficulties first. If you see no resolution, follow all the steps to leave.

Find a Job You Love

Knowing how to quit a job is valuable, but so is knowing where to look for better opportunities. Need help with that? IntelyCare has got you covered! Check out all the awesome nursing jobs available right now and apply today.