I recently had a nurse practitioner approach me for advice on finding a new position within her current hospital system. She worked as a surgical nurse practitioner and felt she was no longer growing in her current role. The schedule her position required wasn’t conducive to family life and several nurse practitioner job postings listed her current hospital’s website looked like more attractive career options. Applying for these positions, however was awkward. How would HR react to seeing she was interested in leaving her job and meanwhile applying for a new one?
Moving to a new role within the same hospital system, especially if it is a lateral move to another NP position rather than a step up the corporate ladder, creates an awkward tension. You don’t want your boss to know you are leaving or quit your job before finding another. Will HR let on to your direct superiors that you plan to move on when you submit an application? Not to mention, quitting a nurse practitioner job isn’t always well received and could lead to some tension between your current boss and coworkers. If you plan to continue working at the same facility you will undoubtedly bump into these people in the hallways.
1. Meet with HR face-to-face before submitting an application online
By nature of being employed by the hospital system where you plan to continue working but in a new role, you have in-person access to HR. Ask for a meeting with the individual who hired you or is in charge of hiring for the position you want. If you aren’t sure who this is, march yourself down to the human resources offices during your lunch break and ask. This way, you can explain your desire for the transition and get information about the position for which you plan to apply to make sure its a good fit. Express your gratitude for their confidentiality in helping you facilitate this transition until the move is official.
2. Don’t badmouth your boss or coworkers
In quitting any nurse practitioner job, you should never badmouth your boss or coworkers. If you are looking for a new job because your department’s management has created a less than desireable work environment, communicate these factors professionally. Say something along the lines of “I feel that I am not using my clinical skills to my fullest in my current position” or “I’m looking for something more challenging” rather than “the physician I work with has no clue how to use an NP so I answer phones all day”. Keep the communication as positive in nature as possible.
3. Base the transition on external factors or professional development
Likely, there is more than one reason you are looking to leave your job. If possible, express the need for your transition based on professional development or family/personal life rather than “not liking” your job. For example, saying something along the lines of “My work schedule isn’t family friendly“. Or, say something like “As I have gained a few years of experience in my current position, I’m looking to work in an area that will help me continue growing my procedural skills”. Employers love a worker who’s looking to improve, right?
4. Makes sure you’re ready to commit to the decision
Before you begin the process of applying to a new position within your same hospital system, make sure you are ready to commit to the transition. You don’t want to enter the process halfheartedly only to realize your current job is your best bet. This leaves you continuing to work with a boss and coworkers who believe you’re no longer committed to your role. If you meet with HR and apply to a new job, you’d better be ready to take the plunge.
5. Share the news of your transition diplomatically
Your communication with your current boss regarding your employment transition must be kept professional. Deliver the news yourself rather than having HR do so. Express gratitude for the time you have spent working together.