I experienced severe Postpartum anxiety and OCD. It did not start to become bad until after I had returned to work after maternity leave. I had just started a new job when my daughter was a few months old. I did my orientation over the next couple of months, and had only been off orientation a few weeks when I started having panic attacks at work. My main phobia is somehow contracting a bloodborne disease such as HIV, Hep, etc. Logically, I have been a nurse in L&D for 3 years and have been around an enormous amount of bodily fluids and was careful, and the risks really didn't bother me. I was aware but not fearful if that makes sense. Well with my OCD I would have panic attacks if I knew I had to start an IV, draw blood, even helping patients to the bathroom. It was intensified when I knew my patient "had something" such as HIV, Hep B, Hep C. My greatest fear was that I would contract something, either knowingly if something happened or not realizing it, and then giving it to my infant daughter and/or husband. I told my manager about my panic attacks and need for a leave of absence, and she was very supportive and told me to take up to six months. I have been going to a therapist, and am on meds and being followed by a leading postpartum mental health psychiatrist. But I am still no where near capable of returning to work. I still have a lot of anxiety issues to work out and it would not be fair to me, my manager, or to my patients. I spoke to my manager on Friday and told her since my six months is almost up, and that I am not able to return to work yet that I need to resign. Again, she was very supportive and told me that as soon as I am ready to come back to let her know and she'll hire me right back. She is SO wonderful and I have been very blessed. My daughter just turned 1 on Wednesday and I was hoping to be fully recovered by the time she was a year old, but I have made a lot of progress and know that soon I will be myself again.
Sorry for the novel, just realized how much I have written. Here is my question: how do I write my letter of resignation? Do I simply say "Due to my allowed time for personal leave of absence coming to an end and I am still unable to return to work, it is appropriate for me to resign at this time." I want to be clear and professional without the risk of hurting me for future jobs. Thanks for any input you can give.
May 13, '07
I respectfully disagree with the previous posters' advice to state the reason for your resignation.
You have been extremely fortunate to work with a kind and understanding manager. However, there is no guarantee that she will still be there if and when you are ready to return to work. Another (future) manager may take a look at your file, read a resignation letter stating fear of exposure to pathogens, and decide that it does not make sense to re-hire you.
It is NEVER necessary (and rarely beneficial) to state the reason for leaving in a resignation letter. Your current manager already knows, and will certainly remember you if you ask to return in the future. A subsequent manager who does not know you and your good work history and ethic may read that letter and decide not to take a chance on you. For the same reason, I would discourage you from mentioning your fear of pathogens as a reason for leaving this job when you fill out future employment applications. "Personal reasons" is explanation enough, unless you are going to request employer accomodations for your phobia and OCD.
Much like giving a deposition, less information is more when writing a letter of resignation. You can always choose to discuss the issue in future employment interviews, if necessary, but once this information is put in writing, you can not "take it back" if you find it hinders your efforts at job hunting. I would suggest the following:
Dear Ms. Manager:
I submit my resignation from my position as staff nurse on the Maternity Unit of Community Hospital, effective June 1, 2007. I would like to thank you for extending me the opportunity to practice nursing in a highly professional and challenging setting. I would welcome the opportunity to return to the unit in the future when my personal circumstances allow me to resume a full-time schedule. Thank you.
Best of luck to you as you pursue treatment. I wish you and your family good health!
Last edit by Jolie on May 14, '07