Six Reasons Why Nurses Get Fired

People get fired from their jobs regardless of field or industry. Yet it seems like nurses are shown the door more often compared to most other workers in some areas. One or a combination of the following reasons can get nurses fired.

1. Chronic Absenteeism/Tardiness

They say that half the job is simply showing up. This saying is truly applicable in nursing where hospitals struggle with limited staff caring for a growing number of patients.

Nurses who are always absent, fails to attend end-of-shift reports on time and finds excuses to take the day off draws the ire of their managers. The occasional absence or tardiness is usually tolerated. But if the nurse makes it a habit, he or she will be fired soon enough.

2. Negligence or Malpractice

Incompetence gets many nurses into trouble. Many nurses get fired because they do not prioritize safety, do not read patient charts carefully or simply do not pay attention.

Some examples include failing to put up side rails to prevent falls, administering the wrong medication or performing a procedure incorrectly. If the effect is minimal, the nurse would likely just get a reprimand, warning or suspension. But if the patient gets hurt or worse, dies, then the nurse should expect to get fired and face possible litigation.

3. Inappropriate Behavior

Yes, nursing can get really stressful. But that does not give a nurse the right to go into hysterics or a launch a profanity-laced tirade at a difficult patient. Verbal abuse, sexual assault, patient abandonment and workplace violence are not tolerated and will certainly get the nurse fired. Offenders will also likely face lawsuits and jail time.

4. Diversion/Substance Abuse

Impaired nurses whose work has suffered because of drug or alcohol abuse or a mental condition are at increased risk of being terminated because of safety reasons.

Those who come to work intoxicated, commit repeated and excessive errors, demonstrate wild mood swings and steal medications to satisfy an addiction are all likely to get fired. Programs to help these nurses recover may allow them to work again in the future.

5. False Credentials

Employers usually screen applicants well. But occasionally, some nurses get employed using fake diplomas, certificates and licenses. Once the employer discovers the truth sooner or later, the bogus nurse will surely get the axe.

Misrepresenting work experience, falsifying continuing education credits and not updating professional licenses will also get nurses into trouble.

6. Management Decisions

Health care employers are always finding ways to cut costs. Unfortunately, one common strategy is to lay off nurses because they can’t afford to pay them. Or perhaps the hospital has merged with another facility making nursing positions redundant.

Sometimes nurses get fired for vague reasons that are hard to prove but are invoked by employers anyway to justify a firing. A nurse may lose his or her job because he or she “didn’t fit in”, was not able to “transition properly from nursing school”, “didn’t get along well with colleagues”, has “poor interpersonal skills”, or sometimes for “general cluelessness”.

Enough anecdotal evidence suggests that some nurses do get fired because they were simply disliked by the powers that be, although that is debatable.

Nurses get fired for all sorts of reasons. Thankfully, most cases are not career-enders. Depending on the situation, nurses can take advantage of second chances or use the experience to pursue another nursing position later.

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