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Reference from supervisor


I have been a home care nurse for the past two years but have been with this particular company for 6 years. Aside from being on bed rest due to pregnancy complications for 5.5 months I have been in good standing and have even trained new employees. Due to the complications in my pregnancy, I now have chronic lower back pain which inhibits me from doing some of my job. I spoke to my supervisor this past Monday and explained to her that due to my lower back issues I will be starting to look for a non-clinical or less clinical job and a job that offers tuition reimbursement since it would be a good idea to return to school to at least get my bachelors. She said that she would hate to see me leave but that she understood and I had to do what was best for me. When I asked her if I can use her as a reference she said that the director does not allow the supervisors to give references. She was not able to explain a reason just that she did not allow them to. I spoke to another employee about the situation and she states that she had asked them for a reference for her masters program and they told her the exact same thing. Has anyone heard of anything like this? Is this allowed? I did not see any company policy that states that we are not allowed to get references. I was told that I can give any prospect employer the number to HR for reference. The people that work in HR do not even know what I look like and have not worked with me first hand. What should I do?

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 11 years experience.

Many companies in a variety of industries prohibit employment references to be given by anyone other than HR personnel. This is for a variety of reasons

Unfortunately it seems that some employers do put this restriction on their supervising employees. If it were me, I would list the name of the supervisor where the job application calls for it, as well as the phone number. When it comes to the section for references, I would put some kind of statement indicating what you were told. The prospective employer will get the message that you would be using your former supervisors for references. They can do what they want with that information, after all, you would not list a supervisor if they are not going to give you a good reference. No reason why you should suffer because of some employer policy.

kiszi, RN

Has 9 years experience.

This is really unfortunate but very common. I got this response from one of my supervisors, but another one at the same job gave me her personal cell and said she'd be happy to give a reference. Is there another supervisor, senior nurse, or preceptor you could ask? It's especially difficult in home health when you don't work with other staff closely. I would even branch out to other departments if all else fails. I had a PT provide a very good reference at a previous job. Some kind of reference is better than none. Ask former clinical instructors if you have to.

kiszi, RN

Has 9 years experience.

Yes, it's allowed. No company or individual is obligated to provide a professional reference. When they tell you to have the employer call HR, that is for employment verification, not really a reference, although some applications refer to it as such, which makes it confusing.