PLEASE HELP: New grad, 3 months into first job, want to quit and leave it off resume


Hi everyone. I am a new graduate who recently started my first RN job a little over 3 months ago. When I started the job, 8 weeks of training was promised to me, but I had received a little over 3 weeks and deemed prepared by management to work on their busiest and most difficult floor. My three weeks of training did not consist of much, and I felt so scared about their decision to leave me on my own. But they said I would learn as I go, and I went with it and started working with 10-15 acutely ill patients a day.

That was my first mistake, and from that time on, I have felt myself developing a type of anxiety that I have never felt before. I realize that nursing school did not prepare me for the job, and I find myself crying in the bathroom during my shifts and after my shifts in the car. I am having trouble sleeping because I keep myself up thinking about whether I forgot to mention something in the boatload of paperwork that needs to be done or when I gave report. I think about how I could potentially lose the license I worked so hard for because of the possible mistakes I could make because I'm so unprepared.

Currently, I am in a situation where I feel that I may be terminated or have to quit the job. I am struggling with the workload, and this has caused me to have tension with bosses, and an extension on my probationary period. I have heard coworkers talking negatively about me and not being able to do the work. Like any new nurse, I feel lost a lot, and now I feel uncomfortable reaching out for help because of the toxic work environment. It also doesn't help that my boss is pretty much unapproachable and just hard to talk to in general. Things are going downhill for me at this place, and I really can't see myself working there for that much longer. Has anyone had any similar situations? How did you deal with it?

I have considered quitting (without notice or two weeks...opinions?) but:

  • Do I exclude this experience from my resume? It is the only healthcare experience I have, but I doubt it could be used as a good reference at this point.
  • What do I say about it at interviews if I do include it? I know its a taboo thing to talk bad about previous employers.
  • If I exclude it, do I say I never had healthcare experience when they ask?

Please help. Any comments about similar experiences are appreciated.


38,333 Posts

The only advice I have is to resign before you are terminated, once you determine it can not work out.

SaltySarcasticSally, LPN, RN

2 Articles; 440 Posts

I would resign and explain to any potential employer that you only received 3/8 weeks training and you felt it was not sufficient enough time as a grad to safely practice n your own. Or something to the extent, be truthful, but don't be hateful (Which it doesn't sound like you are just wanted to put that in there). Sorry this happened to you, why type of unit is this?!


5 Posts

Thank you for your reply. I definitely don't think I could stay any longer with the way things are going.


5 Posts

Thank you for your reply. I am definitely trying to do this in the most peaceful way possible. I am scared out of my mind to go in and give my two weeks right now, but it's important to me that I start my nursing career off somewhat positively.

SaltySarcasticSally, LPN, RN

2 Articles; 440 Posts

Thank you for your reply. I am definitely trying to do this in the most peaceful way possible. I am scared out of my mind to go in and give my two weeks right now, but it's important to me that I start my nursing career off somewhat positively.

You are definitely in the right for not feeling safe. I'm a new grad RN w/ 8 years lpn experience and am getting 12 weeks orientation. I would be peeing my pants if they cut me loose on my own after 3 weeks.


1,763 Posts

When you're interviewing at other facilities, try to spin this whole situation as positively as possible. You can definitely say that the place didn't work out for you while not bashing your employer. Personally, I would say something along the lines of, "I appreciated the experience I had there, but because my orientation was cut short and because of my patient load, I did not feel that I could practice nursing safely, especially as a new nurse. Patient safety is a top priority for me, and I felt that leaving was best for me at that time." This will, first of all, let the employer know that you aren't just there for a paycheck--patient safety matters to you; but it will also let the employer know that you're serious about orientation promises. If you're promised 8 weeks of orientation and promised a certain nurse/patient ratio, you expect it.

Also, if you can, I would give at least a 2 weeks notice. You don't have to use this current job as one of your references, but you should still list it under your previous employment--if potential employers find out you lied about your work history, you can kiss that job goodbye. Giving your current employer advanced notice will hopefully keep you in good standing when you leave. If you just leave tomorrow, they'll absolutely throw you under the bus if a future employer asks about you. Don't give them any reason to doubt your character.


927 Posts

Make sure there are no financial clauses that you may not have been aware of. One of the hospitals I interviewed at offered new grad residency, but if you left before a certain amount of time, you owed them money...


5 Posts

Thank you for your great reply. I think you gave a great example of what to say during an interview. This is a very new and scary situation for me, and it's been hard to organize my thoughts so I really appreciate it. Do you have any suggestions as to what I can say to my boss when I give my two weeks? I am thinking of writing a letter of resignation and speaking to her.

allnurses Guide

NurseCard, ADN

2 Articles; 2,847 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health. Has 13 years experience.

What type of unit is this??? Is it a medical unit in a hospital? Or is it

a sub acute rehab unit? The number of patients sounds appropriate

for sub acute rehab, but definitely not appropriate for a hospital unit!!

Unless you are really thinking that you may use your boss as a

reference in the future... I wouldn't worry that much about what

to put on the resignation letter. "My last day of work will be ___,

thank you for the opportunity to work at ***** General".


6,528 Posts

Sad to hear yet another story of inadequate new grad orientation and generally unethical treatment. I believe you're on the right track with your intention to resign.

I agree with the above poster - type a pleasant and short/to-the-point resignation letter. You mention talking with your manager in addition to turning in a resignation letter - - while it may be very awkward and/or seem cowardly not to say something, I advise caution. It is very natural to perhaps fantasize about a conversation where you are able to sort of vindicate yourself, or a conversation in which your manager somehow admits her own/her department's shortcomings and you will have your sense of dignity restored. I hate to be Debbie Downer, but I feel nearly 100% certain in advising you that that is not going to happen, or at least not the way that you imagine. These people have not dealt ethically with you up to this point and they aren't going to start now. You will become "whole again" by learning from this experience and moving forward....not by having a conversation after the damage has been done. If, after careful consideration, you really feel compelled to do more than just slip your letter under her door:

"I've prepared my resignation but I thought it would be right to let you know in person. Thank you for my first opportunity as an RN."

She'll probably say something back, while you smile and little else as possible. Avoid platitudes, compliments that are lies, attempts to justify yourself, etc. Stay calm. Smile and nod. Exit as quickly as possible.

Best wishes to you. I'm sorry this was your first experience.

PS - even if by some strange twist she DOES take this opportunity to either apologize or acknowledge your poor treatment, RESIST the urge to engage too much - it's a day late at this point. Just say "I appreciate hearing that".

Lev, MSN, RN, NP

8 Articles; 2,803 Posts

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner. Has 10 years experience.

Your resignation letter (if this is what you decide to do) should be short and to the point.


Dear *name of manager*

I am writing to let you know that that I have decided to resign from my position as a *official job title* on the *name of unit* at *name of institution.* My last day will be on *exact date at least two weeks from now*. I am grateful I had the opportunity to work at *name of institution*.


*Your name*

I would go over to your manager and give her a written copy of the letter. If she asks why you're leaving, say confidently that you are seeking other opportunities. Then I would give a written copy to HR. Then I would email a copy to your manager and cc HR and yourself. Then I would email HR and cc your manager and yourself.

Cover all your bases.

If they offer the opportunity for an exit interview, politely decline. Resignation is not the time to air your grievances. I would keep your head down and not bring up any complaints, be police and courteous to all until you make a decision about what to do.