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Terminated Unfairly and Wants to Write a Rebuttal

Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Nurse Beth specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I would like to ask for your advice.

I received an oral warning in February and a written warning in March regarding basically the same incidents but different patients. I am wanting to write a rebuttal but unsure as how to write one regarding the two write ups. I would like them to be combined since they happened at approx the same time. I did not have a chance to improve.

I also feel as if I am being treated differently than the other two nurses I work with. I am being written up for things that are done or missed by all three nurses.

Even though ultimately I had to quit due to being called into the office again, I would still like my response to the write ups on my record. I would like to be rehired in the same hospital but in a different department.

I would appreciate any assistance you can give me with this issue.

Dear Wants Rebuttal,

I'm sorry you are going through this. It's awful to be fired, and on top of that, you believe you were singled out for discipline and that the discipline was unfair.

You are in the anger phase of this, and of course, it's natural to be angry.

But- there's little or no benefit to a written rebuttal. A written rebuttal on your record is not going to increase your chances of being employed. If another nurse manager wants to know what happened, she is going to call the manager who terminated you and ask. In a "Your Word Against Their Word" situation, your manager will prevail. It's not like a court of law, where there must be proof of evidence.

Read Difference Between Right-to-Work and At Will Employment

Instead of prolonging this by staying on the defense, instead ask yourself if, in hindsight, there's anything you could have done differently.

In the future, you can ask for a performance improvement plan to improve, with specific goals and metrics. When you do that, it forces the employer to be specific (when, where, how often) about what it is you are supposed to be doing or not doing. It disallows for bias and subjectivity, which protects you.

"I'd like to improve my performance. What specifically do you need to see so we'll both know I've met the expectations?"

Your manager should also give you a timeline such as "You must be on time for work, starting immediately. We'll meet next week to review how you are doing".

Read When You Receive a Warning at Work

Moving forward, you want to actively seek employment elsewhere to shorten your employment gap. Hone your interview skills

Read Answering Interview Questions

Best wishes to you,

Nurse Beth

Start your job search today!

Often, when a nurse is terminated, they are told it’s because of one or two easily identifiable incidents, like a med error. However, everyone makes errors.

The real reason for the termination is much more amorphous. Perhaps you weren’t seen as a team player, deemed lacking in critical thinking, deemed difficult to manage or teach, or any number of reasons that aren’t going to be the stated reason.

Please do some self reflection on the whole situation, not just the two incidents that were mentioned. I’m not saying you weren’t treated unfairly; you may have. However, take this opportunity to improve and move forward, instead of dwelling on things that you cannot change.

Hoosier_RN specializes in dialysis.

Also, you don't know if the others were reprimanded or not. Not everyone discusses such incidents. Just hang in there, self reflect, get another job, and work on being the best you possible


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