How to Quit Your Nurse Practitioner Job with Class

In an ideal world, you would graduate from your nurse practitioner program, find the perfect job with the perfect schedule and perfect coworkers. You would work there happily ever after until retiring with a loaded 401K and unmatched retirement benefits. But, let’s be honest, this rarely happens. Most nurse practitioners will have more than one job in their lifetime. This means there comes a time in every NP’s life to part ways with an employer.

Quitting a job is never easy. It’s like breaking up with a significant other. Even if it’s for the better, anticipating the dreaded “I’m leaving” conversation leaves us with a pit in our stomach. The results of the conversation are unpredictable. Quitting your job can result in tears, a shouting match, hurt feelings, or hard feelings. Too often, the “I quit” conversation is where professionalism goes to die.

Regardless of your opinion of your employer or the reasons for your employment transition, leaving your job with dignity and class is essential. The medical world is much smaller than you think and word travels fast. Quitting your job in an emotional flourish or by posting a “take this job and shove it” viral video could leave you unemployed. It’s essential to leave your job, regardless of the circumstances, without burning bridges. Here’s how:

1. Leave in accordance with the terms of your contract

Most employment agreements contain language in regards to leaving your job. How much notice are you required to give? If at all possible, give the required amount of notice to your employer. If you find you’ve signed a contract with unfavorable terms, your employer may be willing to work with you to make an earlier transition. But, ultimately, you’re responsible to give adequate notice.

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Additionally, make sure your contract does not have a noncompete clause. This restricts where you are able to work after leaving your current employer. If your employment agreement does outline a noncompete agreement, make sure your next job complies with these guidelines or you could find yourself unemployed.

2. Put your resignation in writing

Whatever you do in regards to your employment situation whether it’s accepting a job or leaving it, you must make sure the arrangement is well documented. Draft a positive, polite, professional letter of resignation. This will likely be filed away and kept on record so make sure the letter is not something you will regret writing later.

3. Keep it simple

In most cases, you don’t need to go into much detail about why you are leaving your job. Let your employer know it’s time for you to make a change and be positive. Share information and facts rather than feelings and accusations in regards to your reasons for moving on. Bashing company policy and speaking negatively of coworkers has no benefit and will tarnish your reputation. Remember, your next employer may be calling your current boss as a reference in the future.

4. See your commitments through

Nurse practitioners must often give anywhere from 30 to 180 days notice when leaving a job. This can mean months of continuing to work in the same position after advising that you will be making an employment transition. Don’t slack off during this timeframe. Continue working to your full potential. This demonstrates character and will speak volumes to your employer who will likely be called on as a reference. And, it’s the right thing to do. You want to feel good when you walk out the door on your last day. 

5. Create a smooth transition

Seek to make the transition as easy as possible on your employer. This may even involve training your replacement. Wrap up any projects you have and work to delegate your job responsibilities to existing employees. Ask your employer how the clinic/hospital wishes to notify patients you are leaving. Offer to write a letter to your established patients recommending another provider in your practice as a resource for their future healthcare needs.

5. Leave quietly

It may be exciting to announce to colleagues that you are leaving, or finally get it off your chest that you hate your job, but resist the urge. These behaviors are disruptive to the work environment. Don’t announce that you will be quitting your job to coworkers before you tell your boss. If word gets out it could create a very awkward situation.

Stay calm no matter how conversations with your boss go once you have announced your intentions. Subtly remove your personal belongings and return company property in a timely manner. To sum it up, stay classy.


Could you use a new job? Let the ThriveAP Career Advisor Program know. We’re helping nurse practitioners across the country find employment.


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