10 Reasons Nurses Get Fired From Their Job

In this article, we’re taking a look at some of the reasons nurses get fired from their job.

Some of this might surprise some but as in demand as nurses are to healthcare, nurses can and will get fired from their job if they commit one of these acts. 

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. For more info, please see my disclaimer.

Nurses Getting Fired 

While I’ve never been fired from a job I have talked to nurses who have been fired from their job or have known other nurses who have been.

Reasons Nurses Get Fired

1. Patient Abuse or Poor Professional Conduct

This would be treating your patients poorly.

So, for example, yelling at your patient, belittling your patient or something of that nature. 

It doesn’t have to be a patient it could be a patient’s family member also. 

I get it.

You’re human and it can be hard to deal with difficult patients or their family members. 

But it’s not an excuse for poor treatment of patients.

Pro Tip:
Know when to tag out.

If you’re getting really upset with the way a patient is treating you excuse yourself before things escalate.

Pro Tip:
Keep an eye out for one of your coworkers that’s getting upset.

Be a friend and step in for them before it gets out of hand.

2. Not Renewing Your License or Certifications

Regardless of where you live and what specialty you work in, you MUST have an updated license to be able to work.

The facilities that I’ve worked at a nurse not renewing their license will at minimum get you written up if not fired.

Pro Tip:
This is also applies if you’re a new nurse graduate and fail to obtain your nursing licensure at the agreed upon time.

Part of the reason why we tell recent graduates who fail the NCLEX to make sure and talk to their employer if they already have a job offer.

Keep in mind that your license is your livelihood.

Without an active license you can NOT work as a registered nurse (RN), a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or even as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).

Pro Tip:
License and certification renewal times are pretty consistent.

Set up reminders on your calender to help you rember when you need to renew them.

3. HIPAA Violations

This is harped on so much but yet many nurses still make this mistake a lot.

You have to protect your patient’s privacy. 

Something else to keep in mind is to not share patient information with patient visitors unless the patient says it’s OK.

Pro Tip:
Just because a patient has a visitor doesn’t mean they need to know details about their condition.

4. Social Media Misconduct

This technically falls under HIPAA violations but with the way things are these ways, this is worth breaking up separately. 

What you say in social media does matter and it can cost you your job if you’re not careful.

Pro Tip:
Avoid taking pictures of your patients or posting comments (especially negative comments) about your patients.

5. Abuse of Prescription or Non-Prescription Drugs

According to the Journal of Clinical Nursing, 20% of all nurses (so 1 in 5 nurses) struggle with some addiction to drugs or alcohol (source). 

There’s a lot you could unpack in this section but let’s sum it up like this.

  1. Illegal drugs are just that illegal. That’s the first thing. 
  2. The second thing is going to work when you’re under the influence of a drug or medication. Which is also a problem.
  3. The last part about this is when nurses divert drugs from a patient to themselves. Which is problematic for all sorts of obvious reasons.

6. Too Many Absences or Tardies

It doesn’t matter how “good” of a worker you are. If you can’t be depended on to show up when you’re supposed to and on time that’s a problem. 

Nurses deal on regular bases with being “short-staffed.”

It doesn’t help that when facilities do have enough nurses they’ll staff just enough. So even one nurse calls in it can be hectic for everybody.

As for being tardy.

As a nurse who has worked 8-, 12-, and 16-hour shifts I can tell you that few things frustrate most nurses quite like being constantly late after a long shift.

After working a hard shift the last thing most nurses want to do is wait 30 minutes for you to come to work and take report. 

Pro Tip:
This is not to say that absences will never happen or that you’ll never be late.

What I am saying is to be mindful about not making it a habit.

Also, if you do call-in try to call in with as much notice as possible, that’llgive staffing hopefully some time to find a replacement before the shift begins.

7. Making Too Many Mistakes

Let me start by saying mistakes are going to happen. We’re all imperfect people. 

With all that said making mistakes in healthcare can be costly. 

It’s costly from a business perspective but more importantly, it’s costly because it can lead to poor outcomes for patients.

8. Lack of Professionalism

Being a professional nurse is a big deal and lack of professionalism even if it doesn’t get you fired can stunt your career growth.

I’m going dive deeper into what it means to be a professional nurse in a future article. 

I’ll link to it when I do. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a nurse get a job after being fired? 

Yes, nurses can get a job after being fired. While it’s not easy, it can be done.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot from our list of things that get nurses fired from their job.

What other reasons have you seen that got a nurse fired?

Let us know what your thoughts are below.

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