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I was unfairly terminated and now my former employer is interfering with my job search. How do I move forward?


Dear Donna,

I was terminated after seven years of hospital employment. My former employer is telling prospective employers that I was terminated for improper patient care (failure to assess a patient’s skin appropriately). I’ve already lost one job opportunity (after attending the first day of orientation) and had an employment lawyer send a Cease & Desist letter to my prior employer. But they claim that they are obligated to do so under the 2005 law of responsibility and reporting (brought about by nurse Cullen).

I’m by no means an incompetent nurse and have never been reported to the board of nursing. I have been advised to either omit this employer on my resume or attempt to have the charges addressed since they never were formally by the employer’s discipline process. How do I move forward as an RN with 18 years of experience in an adult hospital setting? The termination will still haunt me even if I try another aspect of nursing. I’ve already read your article “Picking Up the Pieces.”

Right now I’m mad at myself for not quitting this job since my manager was a former staff nurse who likes to play favorites.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Pam,

If you believe you were unfairly or wrongly terminated, this should be addressed with your attorney. Omitting the job on your resume does not solve the problem, and you will need to list it on an employment application because of the very law you cite in your question. You might want to consult a nurse attorney because they have specialized knowledge of nursing practice issues.

As you know from reading the article “Picking Up the Pieces of Your Career,” you should focus your job-hunting effort on networking. It is much easier to find something under these circumstances when someone can personally vouch for you. And as the article suggests, you also should volunteer somewhere medical now while you look for paid employment. Volunteering often leads to paid employment. This is a way to get your foot in the door somewhere.

You also might benefit from working with a nurse career coach who can help you navigate your way through this back to employment. We all need a little help and support from time to time, especially when life/work throws us a curve ball. Find a nurse career coach by referral from your state chapter of ANA ( — whether or not you are a member, by asking around, or through the International Coach Federation (



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By | 2010-04-20T00:00:00-04:00 April 20th, 2010|Categories: Blogs, Nursing Careers and Jobs|0 Comments

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