5 Sure Fire Ways to Get Fired

If you’ve read some of the horror stories on Nurses losing their license, you’ll be right to wonder what they were doing in Nursing in the first place.

Here we look at 5 sure fire ways, you’ll surely be fired...

1. Taking pictures of patients.

This one should come without a doubt, but snapping pictures of patients is a no no.  In recent news, a woman handed over her license after being discovered taking pictures of a patients genitalia while he lay unconscious.  Kristen Johnson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor disseminating of unlawful surveillance photos, and in a plea deal handed over her license.  Now of course this seems unfathomable, but if it feels wrong, it probably is.  Again – DO NOT TAKE PICTURES OF PATIENTS.

2.  Druggin’ on the job.

Ever seen Nurse Jackie?  Of course you have.  Recovery programs exists specifically just for Nurses who are recovering addicts.  Unfortunately, it’s all to easy to be prescribed Vicodin for that neck ache.  Then more, then more, then more – until suddenly you’ve found yourself addicted and losing your license.

In other scenarios, dishing out the drugs to friends or colleagues can also land you in hot water.  It goes without saying, don’t be tempted by temptation.  You get it!

3.  Too tired to type!

Ever been exhausted from the 12 hour shift?  Of course you have.  Ever been too tired to complete that patient record?  Little slip ups like this can have your license revoked.  While these might seem like little nothings to you, this could have serious implications on your patient also.  Falsifying patient records (and this means not filling them in) have serious consequences and lead to bad repeat behavior.  Take time to take a breath and write things down properly.  And for goodness sake, if you dished out a few extra painkillers – JOT. IT. DOWN.

4.  Professionalism.

You’re exhausted, tired and crabby.  That call light has been flashing for the past 8 hours and it’s the same patient asking you to find their jacket.  Whilst this seems like a minor one, it’s been known for Nurses to lose their license for talking to a patient in a non professional manor.  Or should we say, cursing at one will.

Always keep cool, calm and collected.  Be polite, yet candid.  If you need to take 10 seconds to breathe, get to the restroom stat, take a breath and get back to it.  You’ve got this!

5.  False License.

If you’re already there and you’ve lost your license, or at least had it suspended, then the temptation to forge a new one until your suspension is up might be creeping into your mind.  While we rarely see this one, it’s a problem that does crop up.  Is falsifying a license worth never being able to work again?  Forge one and find out – unfortunately you’ll never work in Nursing again.

In summary, slip ups happen.  You forgot to bring the patient their tylenol.  You lost your cool with a drunk person thinking they’re priority over the car accident victim.  All in all, keep your head strong and remind yourself why you became a Nurse in the first place.  

Integrity, Professionalism and Caring with Honesty.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. I have my bff who is a nurse in Oncology and I went to school with a nurse who now teaches and recently retired and also know quite a few. ALL of them are of the highest standards I’ve ever known. HOWEVER, I’ve been a patient numerous times and had the best and the worst! I even had the Patient Advocate and the Nursing Supv. come to my defense twice two separate times and give me apologies for what happened. IF YOU ARE A NURSE, THINKING ABOUT BECOMING A NURSE OR ARE EVEN A CNA, LPN, O.R NURSE, SPECIALIST NURSE IN A DR.S OFFICE, YOU CHOSE THAT PROFESSION TO HELP OTHERS. BE THERE FOR THEM AND NEVER EVER MAKE THEM FEEL THEY DON’T HURT, DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT OR THAT THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU’RE SAYING. THEY DO. PATIENTS ARE SOMETIMES DIFFICULT BUT WE ARE ALL HUMAN AND GUESS WHAT, ONE DAY, YOU NURSES WILL END UP WHERE WE ARE, THE PATIENT! SO REMEMBER KARMA! DO YOUR JOBS WITH HONOR, INTEGRITY AND CARING! GOOD LUCK YOU’RE GONNA NEED IT! OH, AND LOTS OF EDUCATION!

    • Barbara,

      It is truly sad that you have had such bad experiences. In my short life span (all of 49 years of which 30 years have been DEDICATED to the medical profession which includes being a Medic up to a Nurse and even a couple of years of Premed), I have learned 2 important lessons. The first is that perception is everything. If you perceive something then it is true despite the fact that it may be something else entirely. The second is that there is ALWAYS two sides to ANY story and usually somewhere in the middle is the truth. I do not know the circumstances of your experiences nor am I asking them (HIPPA after all). Yes, everyday I have to remind myself why I went into the Medical Profession and became a nurse. Reread #4 above. But let’s look at it this way. I have had things unmentionable thrown at me before I have even met the Patient. I have even been called every name in the book before I have even met the Patient. The list goes on and on. Sometimes I receive an apology (although more often then not there isn’t one forth coming nor expected). When the few and far in-between apology is given I always answer, “Apology accepted but not needed.” I go on to say, “that I never take any of it personally” and that, “I know they are not feeling well.” I say this not condescending but reassuring the Patient that all is ok between them and myself. After all I am there to help them the best way I can. After all THE NURSE IS THE NUMBER 1 PATIENT ADVOCATE THERE IS. Not to belittle Management nor your apology from the Patient Advocate and Nursing Supervisor, but, one of the functions of any management team (Medical or otherwise) is to see to customer satisfaction anyway possible.

      There is an awesome movie that came out in 1991 called “The Doctor” with William Hurt in it. I urge EVERYONE not just Patients or Medical Personnel to watch it. I believe it describes your “Karma” as it were.

      By the way, I have been both Nurse and Patient. I find that being a Nurse, I am more tolerant towards Nurses. I never tell them that I am Nurse despite the information being on the chart and I am treated as any other Patient would be.

      In closing, I wish you good health and good luck. After all everyone one of us will be a Patient someday and need a NURSE at our bedside.


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