How to Bounce Back from Being Fired as a Nurse Practitioner

Whether you refer to is as being ‘terminated’, ‘parting ways’, or ‘let go’, if you’ve been asked to leave your job as a nurse practitioner, face it – you’ve been fired. Whatever the reason for your employer’s decision, being asked to leave your job never looks good on a resume. Your reaction may be to celebrate and book a sweet beach vacay, or to chuck your boss’ computer out the window. 

Reacting inappropriately to such news, however, makes your chances of bouncing back even bleaker. Fortunately, nurse practitioners can recover from being fired and go on to have successful careers. Here’s how. 

1. Keep Emotions in Check 

Being asked to leave your job will likely come as a surprise. An emotional reaction naturally ensues. Whatever your emotions, maintain a professional disposition. A ‘take this job and shove it’ attitude won’t compel your boss to do you any favors when it comes to the terms of your exit. Upon receiving the news, step back and take stock of the situation. Rash behavior, negative comments, and dishing with [former] coworkers may keep you from finding new employment.

2. Remember, It’s a Small World

As tempting as it my be to tell your BFF, your circle of friends, the checker at the grocery store, and anyone who will listen, about how unfairly you’ve been treated, keep the news of your departure on the DL. Tell only your few, closest confidants about your firing. The healthcare community is tight knit. Maintain control of the message you send to prospective future employers by keeping mum.

3. Read the Fine Print

Take your time before signing termination papers and never do so on the spot. Just like accepting job offer, leaving a job on any terms involves paperwork and negotiation. Compare the terms of your departure with the employment agreement you signed when you were hired. What does the agreement detail about the notice you are to receive in the event you are terminated?

Additionally, nurse practitioner employment agreements often contain a non-solicitation clause restricting you from encouraging your patients to join you at another practice where you become employed. A non-compete clause may also prevent you from practicing within a certain distance of your former employer for a period of time. If you plan to dispute your termination, or have questions about the restrictions placed on you moving forward, seek legal counsel.

4. Coordinate Next Steps with Your Employer

It may seem crazy to ask the person firing you for a letter of reference, however, this is typically a good move to make if you’re losing your job, and helps explain your departure to future employers. Most employers worry about the legal implications of giving a negative reference and will essentially confirm your dates of employment and position. You may also want to negotiate that your employer refer to your term of employment using only neutral language, or that HR handle any requests for references regarding your term of employment.

5. Ditch the Blame Game

Blaming your employer for what happened, and most of all badmouthing your employer public, won’t help and will likely hurt your situation. You were fired for a reason. Use this as a learning experience and move on. Take a step back and look at your situation objectively. Pull your emotions, anger included, together, and muster the motivation required to move on.

6. Check Your Account Balance

Getting fired is a major blow to your budget. Check your account balances. How long can you afford to be out of work? Have you been offered a severance package that will help offset the financial shock? If the dollars and cents aren’t adding up when it comes to your monthly budget, start cutting back to make ends met until you land a new job. For nurse practitioners, the on boarding and credentialing process can be lengthy. So, you may need to plan for a few months without an income. 

As part of your fiscal planning, evaluate your health insurance status. You will likely retain your employer’s health insurance plan through the end of the month, so set any health or dental appointments you need pronto!

7. Practice Your Elevator Pitch

Before you begin interviewing for another job, get your story straight. Carefully compose a brief response to the question ‘Why did you leave your last job?’ in preparation for upcoming interviews. The reply should be no more than a few sentences. Avoid being defensive or sharing too many details. Rehearse the speech over and over again until your delivery is succinct and matter of fact. End with a sentence stating what you learned from the situation. This puts a positive spin on the experience. Showcasing that you can recover and learn from career disaster may even impress your interviewer.

Nurse practitioners can bounce back from being fired. The initial steps you take after receiving the news will dictate how easily you make the transition back into the NP workforce.