How do I recover, move on and find a job after being fired?

By | 2021-05-07T16:31:14-04:00 August 4th, 2015|3 Comments

Dear Donna,

I was just terminated from a  job. How do I recover and move on? I have never been fired or have quit anything in my life. I am devastated and don’t know how to move on. How can I find a job in nursing? I feel like no one will hire me now that I have been fired. How do I even explain this? Do I put it on my resume? I’m  kind of lost.  I have experience in nursing but not much else. I’m 27 and graduated in 2010. I’ve had three jobs.


Dear Terminated,

There are many nurses who have been terminated from a job who then go on to get another position and move forward with their careers. While it is never easy to work through, it is possible and you will be able to do it too. Read “Picking up the pieces of your career” ( for tips and advice on how to move forward.

It is challenging for me to respond to your inquiry without knowing the reasons and circumstances for your termination. How you address this on an interview and during networking depends on what actually happened. I do address various scenarios in the book “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses” and provide actual phrases and specific language to use depending on the reason for termination.

You would never mention a termination on a resume or in a cover letter. However, if a job application requires that you state the reason you left your last job, you can simply state “Terminated. Details provided,” meaning that you will provide an explanation if asked.

How to recover and move on

A great first step is to seek a volunteer position as a nurse while you look for paid employment. Volunteering is a great way to provide recent, relevant experience on your resume and to speak about on an interview. It also helps to provide structure to your day and week while you work through this situation rather than sitting home feeling depressed and scared. Volunteering often turns into paid employment and is thought of as a way to get a foot in the door somewhere. Employers are more inclined to hire someone they already know. Look for a nurse volunteer position at your local public health department, a free clinic, blood bank or the American Red Cross.

Since networking is known to be an effective way to find job openings and get interviews, especially when you have obstacles to overcome as in your current situation, it is imperative that you activate your own network. Your network includes former co-workers (including physicians), friends, family members and neighbors. It doesn’t matter if they work in healthcare. Contact them and let them you know you are seeking a position. You can mention you were let go from your last job and are looking for something different. Ask them for leads, introductions and recommendations. Employers are more inclined to take a chance on someone who is referred to them by someone they know.

I also recommend that you join and become active in your state chapter of the American Nurses Association. Every nurse needs a support system and professional network. It is through our associations that we find community in nursing. This network, community and support system is vital throughout your career. Trying to manage your career in isolation, especially during challenging times, is like trying to walk across a metal floor with magnetized shoes on. You have to work way too hard to get where you want to go.

Take the advice in the above-referenced article, refer to “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses,” find some volunteer work and start networking. Move in a positive forward direction and get past this career bump in the road.

Best wishes,



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About the Author:

Special Topics Editor Deborah Filipek develops and edits content for OnCourse Learning’s blog, which covers news, trends and features relevant to nurses. She has more than 25 years of writing and editing experience, having previously worked for weekly newspapers and ad agencies in the Chicagoland area.


  1. Avatar
    Roxanne Espinoza January 20, 2018 at 3:34 am - Reply

    Thank you I have not been terminated as of yet but I did not scan a med and now they’re calling me in for a meeting on Monday with my director and patient relations director. Thank God I work for a hospital that has a union my rep will be with me. When it’s time I’m not sure if this is a fireable offense but I’m looking at Plan B

  2. Avatar
    Cyn August 29, 2018 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    What happened after your meeting with the director and patient relations director? I could use some advise on that.

  3. Avatar
    Stacy Dalager September 13, 2018 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    Help…witch hunt!!!

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