Got let go from first RN job, need help


Hi all, some back story. I graduated in May 2022, and in July I was offered a job in the department that I had already been working as a CNA in for the past two years (Day Surgery). I began this job in August. Right at one month in, my supervisor pulled me to the side and said that I was not doing enough for this point, that I needed to be taking control of the room, and taking a patient on my own. She did make a hurtful comment to me, "I thought you were ready to be a nurse." I didn't say much to her in response to her comments, I just said OK thanks and left the room. I then immediately went to my preceptor and told her what had just happened, she was surprised and said that she never complained about me or anything. She mentioned that she thought that meeting was weird and that I wasn't at a bad point for being a new nurse.

We devised a plan that I would do everything start to finish for all the patients and she would stand near the doorway and just observe me. One week later I began taking patients on my own while my preceptor had her own assignment, and I graduated from that preceptorship. As time continued on I felt like I was doing just fine.

Fast forward to January, I am put back into a new preceptorship this time in PACU. After two weeks of being with this new preceptor I had pulled her aside for a meeting to ask what the orientation timeframe should look like, when I should be taking a patient on my own, etc. I told her about the previous meeting with my supervisor in regards to the other preceptorship, and I was expressing that I didn't feel I had great guidance or support with that preceptorship as I was never told the expectations upon starting the job and that I was taken by surprise with that meeting. 

On January the 19th I got called in on my day off for a meeting and my boss said, "I have serious concerns over your attitude and since you are on a probationary period I have decided to not continue employment with you." I'm assuming the probationary period is because I was now under a new preceptorship but I am still feeling confused about that whole thing. My boss did not give any examples and after telling me that I was let go, simply said to go pack up my things and turn in my badge.

I am heartbroken by being fired and I honestly don't know what to do. I think that new preceptor was not reading me correctly in that meeting with her, and I tried really hard to not make it sound like I was unhappy or rude, I was genuinely concerned when I spoke with her. I have applied for some nurse jobs and as I am waiting for calls back I don't know what to say to a potential employer when they ask why employment ended with my first nurse job. No one will hire me if I say verbatim what my boss said. I have been able to do some substitute school nurse gigs between then and now but I truly want back into a hospital setting. 

How do I navigate this? Please help. 


6,528 Posts

You may have to keep it simple such as "it wasn't a good fit."

You definitely do not want to attempt to tell your side.

Whenever there are set-backs like this it's a good idea to re-evaluate our actions and see whether there is something we would do differently next time. For example, perhaps a lesson here would be to keep things simple and don't give the appearance of impugning others. In your meeting with your PACU preceptor you could've just said, "I do best when I know the timeline of expectations..." and left it at that. Understandably your feelings were hurt during your initial orientation, but the specifics shouldn't have been brought up months later with a new preceptor.

If you review your experiences at this place you may come up with other things you would do differently if you had do-overs, or other lessons for personal growth. This is a healthy process that can put you in a better frame of mind to positively go forward.

Good luck!