Fired for sleeping on the job

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Dear Nurse Beth,

I was working as a private duty nurse and the patient's family found me nodding off while the patient was napping. The family reported me as sleeping and I was removed from the case and not allowed on any pt care cases.


I looked for a new job and didn't list this company, but I see that the Company is listed in my work history on the work number. What do I say to my new prospective employer if asked about this job and why I didn't list it. I would think that no one would want to hire me if I were reported for sleeping. Thank you for answering

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Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

157 Articles; 3,211 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Fired,

Addressing the situation honestly and professionally is crucial when discussing your previous employment with a new prospective employer.

Here's a suggested approach:

Be Honest. If the prospective employer asks about the job you didn't list, it's important to be truthful about your previous employment. Honesty is valued in professional interactions.

Frame It Positively. Explain the situation in a way that highlights any lessons learned or positive changes you've made. You could say something like, "During my time with that particular company, I encountered a challenging situation that led to my departure. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss it. It's given me valuable insights into maintaining peak performance and attentiveness in my work."

Focus on Growth. Emphasize any steps you've taken to prevent a similar situation from happening again. For instance, you could mention, "Since then, I've implemented strategies to ensure my focus and alertness during work hours. I understand the importance of maintaining a high level of attentiveness, especially in the healthcare field."

Highlight Your Qualifications. Shift the conversation towards your qualifications, skills, and dedication to providing quality patient care. Explain how your experience and training make you a strong candidate for the position.

Reference Your Skill Set. Discuss your expertise and experience that make you a valuable asset to the prospective employer. Talk about your commitment to patient safety and your ability to excel in challenging situations.

Express Enthusiasm. Reiterate your enthusiasm for the role you're applying for and your dedication to delivering excellent care. Make it clear that your goal is to contribute positively to your new workplace.

Remember, everyone faces challenges in their careers, and how you handle and learn from those challenges can demonstrate your professionalism and growth potential. You are not the first nurse to be fired.

It's not uncommon to encounter setbacks, but it's how you address and overcome them that truly matters.

Very best wishes,

Nurse Beth


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