Fired from first job

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    I was let go from my first RN job after six weeks of orientation -- not because of an error in patient care, but because of a mistake/ question in skills lab. My question is: HOW do I address my "experience" on a resume in future job searches? Everything I have read -- plus the advice from a couple former instructors -- says not to mention being fired on a resume because that is the time when you want to make yourself look as good as possible, but I have to address it sometime, because it will show up in a background check, right? Should I just be upfront on my resume and hope I get a chance to explain the circumstances? Do I wait until someone brings it up in the interview? Obviously when there is a question on an application such as, "Have you ever been fired from a position?" I say yes -- I'm not going to lie! I just don't know how to address it when I am not asked. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I haven't been in your exact position, but I definitely would NOT put it on my resume. I have answered "yes" to the "have you ever been terminated from employment" question. I was let go because I was going to nursing school, but I still left in good standing because I understood why he had to let me go. Here are the two options I would consider if I were you:

    OPTION A
    If you were let go because firing you was something procedural they HAD to do because you didn't pass the skill, then I would just wait until your next potential employer brought it up, or you have to explain it on your application, and just reinforce how you learned from your mistake and how it helped you to grow. Unless your boss at the job you just got fired from is a complete d!ck, if someone calls him/her as a reference they should still back you up and try to make you look good for your next job despite you being let go. It's the "decent" thing to do.

    OPTION B "bad terms"
    If you were let go, and things got ugly and you left on bad terms, it was only 6 weeks of work history that you have to try to cover for. A hard lesson I've learned is that being completely honest (while it feels good) is not always the best way to go when finding a job or keeping one. Background checks will most likely NOT bring up previous employers. It's mostly to identify any criminal activity. I highly doubt they will know that you worked at that last job of yours unless by chance someone happened to identify you. But hopefully by then you'll already have the job and it will be harder to get rid of you at that point. That being said, if at the interview they asked what you were doing for the last 6 weeks, make something up that they can't verify. Especially if you think the person who just fired you is going to bad mouth you if they're contacted. What good will that get you...definitely not a job. Sometimes you have to think of yourself, especially when it comes to finances.
    Last edit by bigst79 on Apr 15, '13
  5. 1
    If you were only there for 6 weeks, and those 6 weeks were orientation, then don't sweat it. If asked, just say you weren't a good fit. I doubt it will be a problem.
    Tina, RN likes this.
  6. 0
    Can I ask what your mistake/ question was in skills lab? That seems pretty harsh to fire you for something along those lines.
  7. 0
    Not sure the best way to handle the application.
    But during most interviews, the potential hiring manager will ask why you left that job. At that point, you have the opportunity to state your case. Some managers won't give you the time of day once they hear you've been fired regardless of the reason. Others will think about what this says regarding you as an employee. Either way, it's the manager's call. If you put being fired on your resume, then you put the power into the resume screeners' hands. They may not have a clue what is and isn't acceptable to the manager.
  8. 0
    Here is the whole (long and not very interesting) story: I was going into my seventh week of orientation, and my leader was talking about starting me on nights. I asked if there was any independent work I could do to practice more skills, because there was some care (particularly catheters) that I had not had a lot of practice with yet. She asked if I wanted to spend time in skills lab, and I said yes. While in skills lab, I did two things that apparently spelled my doom: I made a mistake in irrigating a bladder (a skill I had told the two in charge of the lab I had not had any experience with since clinicals, that was why I had asked to practice). The two in charge did not in any way instruct me while I was practicing; they just watched me do it (incorrectly, it seems, I still don't know exactly what I did wrong). I also asked a bad question: I asked if there was ever a time, when priming IV tubing with an antibiotic, if there was a way of restoring the antibiotic to the IV. The nurse asked me what I thought. I said that there would be no way of maintaining sterility. The reason I asked this question, however was I had SEEN nurses doing that. I didn't tell them that part. So, next day I was called into the service leader's office and told she was blown away that I had asked such a question and she was terminating my employment. She also made a brief reference to the catheter procedure, but I was sort of stunned and did not ask what my exact mistake was. That is the whole story, as I was told it.
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    It's not your job on a resume or in an interview to represent yourself badly. You can tell the story from your point of view without it being a lie. For example, I have no clue why you would be terminated based on what you said. There's more to that story -- the stated reason sounds like a pretext.

    Nevertheless, don't put it in the resume and when asked say that the employment wasn't a good fit. If pressed, say that YOU feel like they weren't giving you an adequate orientation.

    1. That sounds to me like a true representation of your post.
    2. If the place is local to where you're applying, most hospital administrators consider their programs to be superior to their competitors. You saying that you weren't being properly oriented probably fits into the pre-established mindset of how HR thinks of their competitor anyway...

    You can be vague without being dishonest. It's not your job to represent yourself in a bad light. Put those two things together and you can navigate an interview.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    kittyn likes this.
  10. 0
    Quote from stevejer
    Here is the whole (long and not very interesting) story: I was going into my seventh week of orientation, and my leader was talking about starting me on nights. I asked if there was any independent work I could do to practice more skills, because there was some care (particularly catheters) that I had not had a lot of practice with yet. She asked if I wanted to spend time in skills lab, and I said yes. While in skills lab, I did two things that apparently spelled my doom: I made a mistake in irrigating a bladder (a skill I had told the two in charge of the lab I had not had any experience with since clinicals, that was why I had asked to practice). The two in charge did not in any way instruct me while I was practicing; they just watched me do it (incorrectly, it seems, I still don't know exactly what I did wrong). I also asked a bad question: I asked if there was ever a time, when priming IV tubing with an antibiotic, if there was a way of restoring the antibiotic to the IV. The nurse asked me what I thought. I said that there would be no way of maintaining sterility. The reason I asked this question, however was I had SEEN nurses doing that. I didn't tell them that part. So, next day I was called into the service leader's office and told she was blown away that I had asked such a question and she was terminating my employment. She also made a brief reference to the catheter procedure, but I was sort of stunned and did not ask what my exact mistake was. That is the whole story, as I was told it.
    I'm so confused. What did you do with the irrigation and what do you mean about the antibiotic thing?
  11. 0
    Quote from jennafezz

    I'm so confused. What did you do with the irrigation and what do you mean about the antibiotic thing?
    Ditto. I don't understand the ATB thing either.
  12. 0
    what does "restoring the antibiotic to the IV" mean?
    you mean storing it in the fridge?

    You past employer of 6 weeks doesnt show on a background ck.


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