In this article we’re going to address the question… “can a nurse quit without notice?”
Because this is an important question and something, we see many nurses do without truly thinking about the consequences.
That or not really caring about the consequences.
A nurse should NOT quit without notice because it burns bridges, destroys your reputation, it’s financially detrimental to you and it hurts more people than you realize. Below we’re going to discuss each point.
*Disclosure: This article on leaving your nurse job with no warning may contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. For more info, please see my disclaimer.
We’ve All Thought About Walking Out On Our Job
Odds are, most of us have thought about walking out on a job after a particularly stressful day.
Sometimes, the tension in a workplace adds up over a few weeks or months, and it all just comes to a boiling point. It could be for any number of reasons.
➨ Unrealistic nurse to patient ratio
➨ Difficult patients
➨ Unsupportive coworkers
➨ Awful managers
While stress can get the best of us, it’s important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Quitting without giving notice can seem so tempting, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there.
Ultimately it can end up putting a huge wedge between yourself and your future job. This couldn’t be truer for those in the nursing field.
Below, we’re going to look at some reasons why you should seriously rethink walking out on the job without giving notice first. As you’ll see, quitting your nursing job all of a sudden is never a good idea.
Well almost never.
There’s one exception, and we’ll tell you what the exception is towards the end of the article.
Can a Nurse Quit Without Notice: 4 Reasons Not to
1. It Burns Bridges
Walking out on the job is not only irresponsible, but it burns way more bridges than you might think.
Consider the kind of message you’re saying to your colleagues and supervisors when you just up and leave without a second glance.
While this might not necessarily be true, it will send a message you don’t care about your job, your coworkers, nor the patients.
This is a totally negative experience and can even hurt your relationships with your colleagues later on.
No matter your reasons for leaving, your coworkers are ultimately going to pay the price for your absence by picking up extra shifts and taking care of more patients during their shift.
That can leave a sour taste in their mouths and cause them to cut off communication with you.
Sure, you might want to ditch your job because of a certain malicious manager, but in the end, the brunt of your leaving will fall on your partners, not your manager.
As someone who has had their shift affected by a nurse “just quitting” I can tell you, managers, rarely if ever feel the weight. That burden always falls on the frontline nursing staff.
Please consider this before deciding to quit your job on the spot.
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2. It Can Destroy Your Reputation
Not only can quitting without notice burn bridges, but it can harm you, too. When you leave a workplace without handing in your two-week notice, your actions reflect negatively on you.
That experience will be the last on-the-job interaction your colleagues and supervisors remember about you, and that’s not a good thing!
When it comes time to get a new job, your future employer will want to learn how you acted in your previous job. They might also ask why you left and how.
Telling them that you walked out on the job without a moment’s notice will let them know that you’re not a reliable employee.
Plus, if any potential employers decide to call your previous workplace to learn more about you, what will they hear from your boss?
That you walked out and left the company high and dry?
This is a huge red flag, especially for people working in the healthcare field. These individuals are supposed to be committed to their work and the patients they treat.
Is quitting your current job really worth putting any future employment in jeopardy?
3. It’s Financially Foolish
Besides the social impact of quitting without notice, you must also consider that you probably won’t have another job lined up for you once you leave.
One benefit to putting in a two-week notice is that you can browse for other employment during that interim.
Leaving any job without another one in the works is questionable from a financial standpoint and will leave you with lots of regrets.
As tempting as it may be to leave your current place of employment, without another interested employer, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Think about if you’re prepared to live for an undetermined amount of time without a paycheck coming in. Most of us aren’t ready for that.
As much as you want to leave your job, focus on finding another place to work first.
The idea of being employed elsewhere might even motivate you and serve as an incentive to stick it out at your current position. Putting in that two-week notice will feel even sweeter knowing that you have another job lined up.
Lastly, you know what they say it’s easier to get a job when you already have a job.
4. It Hurts More People Than You Might Realize
Quitting without notice might feel good in the moment, and you might even feel like you got some revenge on a particularly volatile supervisor or coworker.
However, this pales in comparison to how many innocent people are affected by your decision.
For example, your regular patients will feel your absence for sure.
Nursing is such a people-oriented career, and nurses develop bonds with their regular patients and even their coworkers. Patients come to trust their nurses and depend on them for routine care and attention.
There’s One Exception
Most of the time, quitting without notice is a complete no-no. However, if a workplace or employer is practicing unsafe or illegal procedures, it’s reasonable to leave without notifying them two weeks in advance.
Any time you or others are in danger, it’s suitable to get out of that situation without waiting. Your health and safety, and that of others is the most important thing.
Do what you need to do to get out and if necessary, bring the authorities into the situation to run an investigation.
Fortunately, these types of scenarios are few and far between. In general, nurses, such as other employees, should provide a notice of their departure at least two weeks in advance.
It’s not only respectful, but it allows time for the employer to fill your vacant position once you leave.
This way, your workplace, reputation, colleagues, and patients will remain safe and taken care of. We’re not sure where the two-week policy came from.
We’re not even saying it’s fair that employees have to give notice and an employer can just fire you on the spot, but it has become the conventional protocol and should be followed as such.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I quit my nursing job I just started?
Are you trying to figure out how to quit a nursing job you just started? Whether you’ve been at a job for 10 days or 10 years the protocol for quitting is typically the same (unless your employee handbook says otherwise).
Follow the tips we give in this article and also in our steps to leaving your nursing job.
It’s not the end of the world.
If you’re quitting very early on you might be asked a bunch of questions why you’re leaving, and they might try to talk you into staying.
Make sure your mind is set on going or make sure you know under what conditions you would consider staying.
The only other thing would be to be more mindful the next time you’re applying to and accepting a new nursing job.
Do Nurses Have to Give a Month’s Notice?
Generally speaking, no they do not. The industry standard is usually 2-weeks’ notice unless your employee handbook says otherwise.
Can a nurse be charged with abandonment for quitting without notice?
This is a question many nurses ask themselves which is “Can a nurse be charged with abandonment for quitting without notice.
Let me first start by saying this explanation assumes that you’re not quitting on the job after taking report on a patient (i.e., your home and you’re not going back to work).
Unless there’s an unusual circumstance the answer is typically no.
According to National Nurses United for patient abandonment to occur the nurse needs first to accept the patient assignment (so think taking report on the patient).
Once that happens if the nurse breaks that nurse-patient relationship without “reasonable notice to managers…”
I think you kind of see the point. If you’re not at work, then you’re not at work to take the patient assignment.
I’m going to quit my job, and I want to give my notice what are the next steps?
If you’ve decided that you are going to quit your nursing job by giving notice, you’re probably wondering what the next steps are.
We’ve got you covered. Here are some articles you should read next to help you move forward.
For finding out what are the steps to quitting your nursing job read…Steps to Quitting Your Nursing Job.
If you’re trying to figure out how to write a nurse resignation letter and how that process works read: Examples of Resignation Letters for Nurses
Make sure to polish your nurse resume.
Don’t forget to prep for the interview and dress appropriately: What to Wear for a Nurse interview
Hopefully, you found this helpful. Don’t forget to share this article, and leave us your thoughts and comments.
I have just started a new nursing job in a locked down alzheimer’s unit and am concerned that the refrigerated narcs are not behind 2 locks, as a matter of fact, they are not even locked at all. They are in the med room which can only be locked with a badge that I have not yet been provided with. Is my nursing license at risk or if something happens does it fall on the facility? This is in PA