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Fired as student nurse, looking for RN job


Up till the last month, I'd say my career was going well. Good grades in nursing school, graduated in June. I worked a year as a nurse assistant in acute rehab before finding a job for a year in a tele floor at a community hospital near me. Job was going well, my manager and coworkers liked me. I was about to start cross-training for Monitor Tech and later apply for my hospital's new grad RN program. 

So then I got a call that I was suspended. Day before had been a crazy busy shift, and a nurse told me a patient was on a bedpan right before leaving (RN shift change was halfway through NA shift due to 8 hr vs 12 hr shifts). Anyway, crazy shift, I forgot the bedpan. It stayed there the rest of my shift and night shift and caused injury. There was a whole investigation, hospital got in trouble, APS involved, the whole bit.

Long story short, I got fired. They were honestly polite about it. HR lady said if someone calls the hospital about me, they'll just say dates of employment and my position. 

So what do I do now? Just passed NCLEX. My manager obviously isn't a positive reference, but do I have to check no if they ask to contact? Also--more important--what do I put on job apps for reason for leaving? I was going to put "let go for isolated incident, willing to discuss" but would it be better to just say "employment ended"? And what to say in interview? 

Any advice is appreciated. I just hope I haven't screwed up my whole career. Look out for me delivering pizza...

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

You didn't screw your whole career. You made a horrifying mistake, one that you will undoubtedly have learned from. Ultimately responsibility for that bedpan lay with the nurse caring for the patient. You were also responsible but to a lesser degree. 

In any case, share your work history and put down HR's contact information for them to verify employment. You left because you were graduating nursing school. The end.