This article is going to cover how to quit your nursing job. Because there is a right and a wrong way to do this.

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The Goal When You Resign From A Job

Honestly, quitting your nursing job can be very difficult.

I see many nurses do this the wrong way.

The ideal goal (and yes there is a goal) is to leave in a manner where you’ll always be welcomed back.

For some nurses reading this, you might say I’ve quit many nursing jobs, and I knew I would never return to.

The problem with that is you never really know if you’ll return.

I have worked with many nurses who have bashed their employer before quitting.

They’ll say:

  • “This place is horrible!”
  • “You guys suck!”
  • “I’m never coming back to this place…ever!”

Only to return years, months, some only weeks later. You don’t want to burn bridges unnecessarily.

Also, nurses tend to move around, and you never know when you’ll run into a familiar nurse again and what nursing leadership position they’ll be in.

You’re going to see the same theme throughout this article.

The goal when you’re resigning from a nursing job is to avoid burning bridges.

You always, always, always want to keep your options open.

You always, always, always want to keep your options open.

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To do this, we recommend before quitting your nursing job to keep these tips in mind.

Steps to Resign From Your Nursing Job

1. When Quitting your Nursing Job Work Harder than Everyone else

We suggest always giving 100% effort but especially when you’re about to quit.

Knowing you’re going to be quitting your nursing job is not a time to start slacking off. You want to continue giving exceptional care and exceptional effort.

Co-workers and supervisors will remember the last moments they had with you.

This ensures you’ll receive a good work reference and opportunities to return if needed.

2. When Quitting your Nursing Job do NOT Bad Mouth your Current Employer.

This is an excellent way to be remembered as a whiner. I’ve never understood the perpetual need to bash your employer prior to quitting.

It ends up making it awkward for those who are still there.

Also, how silly would it look if you wanted to return to that employer? You would think it doesn’t happen, but it happens a lot.

3. When Quitting Your Nursing Job Give Advance Notice

It’s customary in most situations to give a two-week notice, but that could vary a little bit based on position.

What you really want to avoid are “no call no shows.”

Calling one day and just telling whoever that you’re not showing up and you quit. You also want to avoid unnecessary “call-ins.”

Those kinds of behaviors put unnecessary strain on your coworkers/former coworkers.

Not to mention that a lot of companies have a no rehire for not giving proper notice prior to quitting.

You need to write a nurse resignation letter before quitting your job. If you need help writing a resignation letter check out Example of a Resignation Letter for Nurses.

Further Reading: If you need tips on starting a new nursing job check out Starting a New Nurse Job.

4. When Quitting your Nursing Job if asked Train Your Replacement

Depending on your position it’s possible that you’ll be asked to train your replacement or someone who is going to be taking over your duties.

You want to do the best that you can to train your replacement. If for nothing else do it for yourself. It will leave a good lasting impression of you to your former employer.

Giving you the opportunity for a good work reference and open arms if you were ever to decide to come back.

5. When Quitting Your Nursing Job do NOT Bad-Mouth them Later

Bad mouthing your former employer after starting your new job is tacky.

It makes you look ungrateful.

Talking bad about your previous employer at your new job is like someone who is talking about a previous ex in a new relationship.

In both scenarios, you look like someone who hasn’t moved on.

6. When Leaving Your Nursing Job Make Sure Your Managers Finds Out First

Once you decide that you’re going to be leaving make sure to schedule a time to talk to your manager, director of nursing (DON), or whoever your boss is.

Make sure you’ve already thought through what you’re going to say and that you already have your letter of resignation typed up and ready to go.

What you want to avoid is a situation where the other staff nurses find out first about your decision and your manager is hearing about it through office gossip.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you quit a nursing job without notice?

No, you should not quit a nursing job without giving proper notice. Typically a 2-week notice is required. Consult your employee handbook to be certain.

How much notice to give when leaving a nursing job?

Typically, 2 weeks’ notice is sufficient. When in doubt refer to your employee manual. Some nursing leadership or management positions may require more than 2 weeks of advanced notice


a nurse talking to her boss about quitting
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The main point of this article is when you’re resigning from your nursing position you want to do it the right way.

Even if it’s a nursing job, you just started the process is going to be the same. You want to give advanced notice.

Do not bad mouth anybody. Lastly, work harder than everybody else till the end.

Related Articles on How to Resign from Your Nursing Position

a guy that resigned from his job
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Are there any other ways to avoid burning bridges when quitting your nursing job?

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