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Get fired or resign from new grad program

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Aurora21 Aurora21 (New) New

Is it better to resign or just let them terminate me? After 3 1/2 months of my new grad orientation, I was asked by my manager and nurse educator to resign. I had made a mistake on a telephone order. Instead of writing 0.75mg I wrote .75mg. Nobody else caught this and thought I wrote 75mg. The wrong dosage was given to the patient by the LVN. I have been orienting on a very busy med/surge tele unit. When they told me this I was so upset I burst into tears. I was told that if this was the only incident then it probably wouldn't have led to me having to resign, but there were other concerns they had too.

Basically the manager said that she would have to bring this up with HR and I would have the weekend to think it over. She said if she calls after the weekend and asks me to come in for a meeting with HR that means they are calling me in to terminate me. The manager and nurse educator said it would be better to come in and turn in my letter of resignation instead of having to go to a meeting and be terminated. I almost feel like they just don't want me there. I was starting to get real stressed about this job, but I thought that was normal especially for a new grad. Part of me feels relief, but I'm also worried about how this will affect my future career, that and I have my family to support. I've only had 3 1/2 months of experience. I'm no longer technically a new grad, but I'm not experienced either. I haven't even worked on my own without a preceptor. It was hard enough to find this first job in this economy, but what's it going to be like now when I have to go find a job and explain my 3 1/2 job experience? Maybe I'm jumping the gun here because HR I guess has to make the final decision, but still they are making it seem like "this job is not the right fit for me" and I should consider resignation. If anyone can offer any insight or advice I'd very much appreciate it.

I am not a nurse yet, so if there are any HR people on here they can add medical specific point of view to this. Also, my advice is predicated on your being located in a right-to-work state such as NC where I am. In NC, if you quit you do not receive unemployment. If you are terminated "for cause" you also do not receive unemployment benefits. The thing is that "for cause" can be difficult to prove. If they now feel that you are not a good fit for the job and are concerned about patient safety (be objective here an pull back and look from their perspective), they have the RIGHT under the law to terminate your employment. HOWEVER, if their cause for termination is thin enough they will not be terminating you "for cause" ergo, you will receive employment benefits. HR people know this. They know the job market is weak and that any employee who is terminated without cause will most likely be on unemployment for a while. This is very expensive for the employer, because they pay a percentage of their total payroll to the state every pay period to cover future unemployment claims. Every time a terminated employee draws unemployment on them it goes into their calculation and their payroll expense goes up. In my mind, this is most likely why HR is encouraging you to quit. Let's look at it rationally. If you quit, will you have a reference from them? If they fire you, will you have a reference from them? Both are likely No. If you quit, will you get unemployment? If they fire you, will you get unemployment? The first is definitely No (if you are an RTW state) but the second is probably a Yes based on them pushing you to quit instead of them terminating. I would go to the meeting with HR and I would tell them I want to see the contents of your personnel file. You have the right under law to ask for this. You also have the right to have copies of the documents contained therein. Make copies. They will probably balk. Be steely-eyed, smile, and ask them this, "Do I understand you correctly that you are refusing me my legal right to view the contents of my personnel file?" Have your notebook out, pen ready, as if ready to write down the infraction. I PROMISE you they will back down immediately. More than likely there are no write-ups in there, or maybe only the .75 issue. That is most likely not enough to be a for cause termination. If there are other items in there look to see if they are dated. What you can push on in a hearing situation with the Employment Security Commission is the undated items. Were they put in after the decision to terminate in an effort to shore up their case? Request that each person who put an item in your file be present at the hearing. Question them under oath that they put the item in your file at the time of the alleged incident referenced on the slip of paper. Ask them, "Did you put this piece of paper in my file on or about the date this incident allegedly occurred?" I'm fast-forwarding here to a hearing situation, but the way it works is that you file unemployment and you will be denied because they will say they terminated you for cause. You then appeal that decision and there will be a hearing with an ESC officer, usually by phone, in which you get to present your case for reversing the for cause decision. ESC is very skewed in favor of the employee and unless there is a lot of stuff in your file for violations (probably not but you'll know once you copy the contents of the file) then they will very likely not prevail and you will be awared unemployment. So we go back to pros and cons. If you quit - no unemployment. If you make them terminate you, you have a chance at unemployment. I say let them terminate you. Oh and one more thing, if they terminate you for a certain group of reasons and yet have not disciplined other similarly situated employees who have made the same errors then your termination would be considered automatically to be NOT "for cause" and as such would be eligible for unemployment. Remember, all of this is based on your state being "right to work" like NC. You need to find out about your state's unemployment laws. You should be able to find out by Googling "Virginia Employment Commission" or wherever you live. FYI, liberal states like California and NY are even MORE skewed toward the employee than conservative states like NC and NC is very skewed toward the employee. Good luck!

I would resign. I haven't started my nursing job experience yet (graduate in December), so take it with a grain of salt, but I have had regular jobs, and if it really does come down to getting fired or resigning, then resign! You have a much better chance of explaining a resignation than explaining how and why you got fired... Maybe you could talk to them about transferring you to another unit first, but if that isn't an option I would resign and tell the other jobs, you felt telemetry just wasn't a good fit for you right out of school.

Revolution, if she does all that don't you think that might make it harder for her to find another job if it gets out in the area.

That is a good question and one better answered by someone with management knowledge in the nursing field. You have to remember I'm coming from a large field where people are let go from jobs and go elsewhere on a regular basis. In an interview situation when a prospective employer asks why she left her job and presses her for the reasons why all "quitting" allows her to do is prevaricate without actually lying to them when she answers. As one who has hired a lot of people, albeit for non-medical positions, I would much rather have a prospect tell me that X, Y, and Z happened and this is what I learned from it. Yes they let me go, and that was their right, but I have learned from those situations and this is what I would do going forward. You all know much better than I what the job market is right now and I have to wonder if she can survive without unemployment benefits if she loses her job. If you are homeless, does it really matter that you have to tell your next employer that you were fired? This is a personal decision that she needs to make from an objective stance and not from the stance of being upset or having feelings hurt because they don't like the job she did. That's certainly a very normal feeling - you would naturally be hurt when you feel your employer is dissatisfied and you feel you tried your best. But the bottom line is that her job is ending and that she needs to make a decision about how to proceed based on a wide range of elements and not just a fear that word will get out. Yes that is a valid concern, but it is one of several, not the least of which should be "What will you do if you can't find a job for the next 26 months?". I think you need to sit down and write down a list of all of the questions you can think of that would affect this decision and then write down the possible outcomes for each of those questions and then list whether each of those outcomes is a pro or con for you. I think if you do that your course of action will become much clearer. Good luck to you!

One point of note...

Interviewer: What happened with your last job?

OP: Telemetry was not the best fit for me because, x, y, z and I left.

Interview: Did you quit or did they let you go?

OP: They offered me the opportunity to resign, but I chose to allow them to terminate me instead.

Interviewer: What prompted that choice?

OP: The job market is very challenging right now and it was important that I not lose unemployment benefits while I search for a job. Their termination was not for cause and this was the best choice for me while I look for a position that is a better fit for my skill set.

What about that is not to like? You have a well-spoke prospect who is honestly acknowledging that telemetry was not the best spot for her and she is giving an honest answer about how the termination came about and why it was a termination instead of a resignation? As an interviewer I would have no problem with this dialogue at all.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

One point of note...

Interviewer: What happened with your last job?

OP: Telemetry was not the best fit for me because, x, y, z and I left.

Interview: Did you quit or did they let you go?

OP: They offered me the opportunity to resign, but I chose to allow them to terminate me instead.

Interviewer: What prompted that choice?

OP: The job market is very challenging right now and it was important that I not lose unemployment benefits while I search for a job. Their termination was not for cause and this was the best choice for me while I look for a position that is a better fit for my skill set.

What about that is not to like? You have a well-spoke prospect who is honestly acknowledging that telemetry was not the best spot for her and she is giving an honest answer about how the termination came about and why it was a termination instead of a resignation? As an interviewer I would have no problem with this dialogue at all.

That conversation would not go that way in nursing. Perhaps it would in your old industry, but that's not how it works in nursing. The interviewer would want to know why the person was terminated. Simply saying it was not for cause would not be sufficient. The whole situation of the potentially life-threatening medication error would have to be disclosed and discussed. The interviewer would also question as to whether or not there were other issues as it is not common for a nurse to be fired for 1 med error only.

With a termination on record, a knowledgable nursing manager would insist on ALL the details of the termination -- and would not hire the person unless they felt they had gotten the whole story. If there were any doubt in their mind that they had gotten the whole story, they would probably not hire the person.

However, it is common for new grads to struggle with the transition from student to practicing professional. It is common for people to quit in the first few months of the job. The possible advantage of resigning is that an "alternative story" could be developed to explain the resignation so that the next employer doesn't find out about the med error -- or if it does become evident, it could be downplayed as not being significant enough to warrant termination.

In addition, the practice of allowing someone to resign is the usual way a manager "gets rid of" an employee she does not want. Managers HATE jumping through all the hoops it usually takes to actually fire someone. So, they offer the option of resignation to save themselves the hassle of the termination procedure. Managers are not going to want to hire someone who forced her old manager to do that. They may see the OP as someone who will not "go gracefully" if things don't work out, and be less likely to hire her because only want to hire people who will resign (if appropriate) in the future.

It's a tough position to be in. Neither option is terribly attractive. By resigning, she loses the unemployment benefits. By risking termination, she makes it more difficult to get her next job.

Having been on both sides of that fence during my 30+ year nursing career ... I'd resign and focus on salvaging my career rather than take the unemployment payments, but do more damage to my long-term prospects. I would also ask them to list me as "eligible for re-hire" if I resign. They might not do it, but an experienced manager might make this deal to make it all happen quickly and smoothly. That "eligible for rehire" in your file will help when future employers check your previous employment.

It will be tempting to simply omit this job from the OP's resume -- and just say she was unemployed in this bad economy. That's a possible solution, but very risky. If the lie is ever discovered, it would probably mean immediate termination from any future job. I wouldn't lie on my resume or in a future application. That's too dangerous as well as unethical.

By all means, write up a letter of resignation this weekend and take it in first thing Monday morning.

By all means, write up a letter of resignation this weekend and take it in first thing Monday morning.

I agree. And maybe re-evaluate your performance, knowledge, and skills while job searching again. That's what I'm doing. I read my nursing texts for my weak or interested area while waiting for a hospital job! Good luck :-)

To the OP - your peers have brought up some industry-specific points that are very compelling. If you have time I would suggest you find the 10-10-10 book by Susie Welch (Jack Welch - GE ex-GM). It is a book about a decision-making process she came up with called 10-10-10. It has you put the ramifications of a decision into a 10 minute/10 months/10 years model to help you figure out what route to take when you have a critical decision to make. Good luck to you!

NoblePath

Specializes in Oncology, Hospice, Med-Surg. Has 4 years experience.

So i'm curious, what type of setting do you work in? It sounds like it's acute care from the length of orientation, but what happened to the other people who were involved, pharmacy, the nurse who actually administered the med? It wouldn't seem fair if you lose your job and the actual nurse that gave that med walked away scott free and pharmacy.

enchantmentdis, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice, ONC, Tele, Med Surg, Endo/Output.

It always looks better if you resign. Immediately apply online for unemployment and describe what happened in the application. Because you were not fired you will probably be able to collect unemployment. You will have to prove you are looking for work each week to collect unemployment checks q 2 weeks. Pretend this job never existed on your resume. Do not let interviewers know you had a nursing job for only 3.5 months. They will call HR to verify your dates of employment and will ask if you are re-hirable and they will say "no", which will prevent you from getting another job. I was fired from my first nursing job and i pretended i never had it and quickly found work, but this happened to you at a most unfortunate time. Hang in there and be willing to drive a ways for a new position and be flexible. Better this happened to you now then later. And, btw, there are facilities that require MDs to enter all orders in computer themselves and these orders are then printed up. Something to ask about in interviews.

HeartsOpenWide, RN

Specializes in Ante-Intra-Postpartum, Post Gyne.

Off topic, but what happened to the LVN? 0.75 mg vs 75mg? Seems like if it was a drug that is normally given in that low of a dose the LVN should have questioned a 75mg dose is typically given in 0.75mg. I have caught pharmacy mistakes, and if I had not and had given the wrong drug who is in trouble? Me, the nurse because I am the last line of defense. I hope that this was not all placed on you.

If you think it's a big enough issue, you might want to run it by an employment lawyer (think there are some lawyers who offer free or very cheap initial consults & if you have some questions prepared, you may be able to get enough info on just one vist or phone call - there are even some online services where you can ask legal Q's and lawyers answer for about $15). That person will have the knowledge to advise you appropriately. You may have more of a leg on which to stand with either the employer or the unemployment people than you know - or maybe not. A good lawyer will know. Also, a good lawyer will advise you on appropriateness of signing or not signing (or any comments you should or shouldn't make whether in writing or verbally) any paperwork the employer may present to you. BTW, you might also think about documenting the events while still fresh in your mind. Keep in mind, talking to a lawyer does not mean you have to act. You may just want to find out what your rights are and whether or not the employer acted appropriately, as well as what is your best course of action. Lastly, keep in mind, lawyers do bill based on hours, so some will push a case to rack up the bill. Shop around a little and use some common sense! On the other hand, if you get someone sharp and honest, you'll get some decent info. Also, the lawyer may have an opinion on whether or not you should or shouldn't list the employer on a resume. Anyway, just offering a different view that hadn't been considered. Whatever course you take, best wishes.

On a side note, I get the impression the NM had some other reason for wanting to let you go. I further get the impression that it may have been something out of your control such as not getting adequate training. After reading various posts, it seems many employers are cutting corners to save money in a bad economy, and the result is people aren't getting the kind of orientations they used to get. Unfortunately, employers can't always do much about it when money is tight. On the other hand, it does result in this kind of thing. In any event, don't get your feathers too ruffled over it. Learn from it and move on with your life and career.

Edited by GQGomer

I just wanted to add this is quite long but this was my 1st nursing experience graduating from school and I just needed advice for further job on what to do next and what to say on interview when the question comes up why did you quit ???

I just wanted some advice to, I just graduated from an RPN/LPN in the states program in June, I recieved my license last week which I am so happy I passed my test in Canada :). I was working under a temporary license in a LTC facility my orientation was very short just 1 1/2 weeks. I did not have a precetor like most do on this site. I was working alone on nights right after the orientation. During my frst 2 mnths there I made 3 errors which I admitted to, one I forgot to take a nitro patch off someone, left a used needle in a residents room, which I know was very dumb and I make no excuses for any of the errors I have done, and 3 gave someone too much tylenol plain, which I wrote out the incident report for myself. I was given much constructive critisism from my supervisor in regards to these errors. She also mentioned that the health care aides had been reporting me for not assisting them with there duties as been mentioned in my job description when I started there. I had mentioned to my supervisor that I was helping with the duties and had no idea why they would state otherwise.I told my supervisor that I would like more assistance and support as I was finding it very hard to get everything done. I was alone at night with 64 residents and 3 health care aides with only one RN for support for the whole building. I was very overwhelmed so I requested a few more orientation shifts and requested to be on a few more day shifts to learn more about the job and have more support around. My supervisor told me at the time ill see what I can do to accomodate this and get back to you. That was 2 weeks ago. I was never moved to day shifts nor was I offered any more support like I was told I would be. Still feeling overwhelmed I went in for my 3 nights shifts last week. Still not getting much support feeling like I am alone. Then on my thurs shift my supervisor stated to me I would be orientating someone who had been working there but had never been on the unit I was on. During that night I thought everything went well. I requested to my supervisor I didnt really feel comfortable orientating someone as I had only been working there 2 months. But my concerns were dismissed and I still had to orientate this nurse. At 1am during the shift this nurse left said she didnt need to be orientated anymore the routine was easy told the RN supervisor she was going home and left. On friday I recieved a call from my supervisor stating she needed to have a chat with me on monday and that my shift was taken away from me. I was supposed to work another night shift on mon night. I went in on Mon to a room with my supervisor the DON and a union rep and she started to explain to me that the nurse I had been orientating with had told them that I was cursing and using very derogatory terms towards the RNs that worked there, that my behaviour was very unprofessional and that the health care aides were also still reporting me for not helping them with there duties at night. At no point in time would I ever swear or use derogatory terms about another co-worker. I went through school and had a career in a call centre for 10+ yrs and had never been accused of being unprofessional. I had very good references when I started working at this LTC facility.I was very upset and still overwhelmed. I started to believe that this other nurse was just to spy on me to get me fired. I didnt know what to do anymore I actually started crying in the office because it had been 3 mnths now and I was still so very overwhelmed so I just handed a resignation to the DON. I was afraid I would be fired from my 1st nursing job. Im just afraid now I wont get another one. I just applied recently to other facilities and I am really hoping I get a response to something soon. I dont live in a very big community and I really wanted everything to go well and tried so hard to make this work.

Just wanted some advice from other experienced nurses.

Thanks

jrkingRN

Specializes in Cardiovascular/Thoracic Surgery Recovery. Has 5 years experience.

Resign. And make sure the LVN got written up too, and the pharmacy. 0.75mg is a LONG way from 75mg and someone else should have noticed the error before the med was dispensed. The LVN should have asked why she was handing someone 100 pills instead of 1.

Also check the policies in your facility regarding order checks.

As far as any "other" issues, maybe bedside nursing is not for you. There are many other things you can do as a nurse. Getting terminated for a med error is bad. Resigning because you didnt agree with your facilities medicine delivery policy is better.

To the OP - what did you decide? How are you doing?

redhead_NURSE98!, ADN, BSN

Specializes in Med/surg, Quality & Risk. Has 10 years experience.

It always looks better if you resign. Immediately apply online for unemployment and describe what happened in the application. Because you were not fired you will probably be able to collect unemployment.

That's interesting. In my state if you quit you don't get unemployment, unless it's "due to the fault of the employer."