The Guide to a Graceful Exit for Nurse Practitioners
Working up the nerve to give your two weeks notice to your employer can be downright stressful and intimidating. No doubt the days leading up to handing in your resignation have been filled with worry, anxiety, and fear of the unknown. But once you are able to work up the courage and deliver your notice, an unexplainable surge of excitement and adrenaline rush through your body as you waltz out of your boss’s office on cloud nine.
You can literally feel the weight being lifted off your shoulders as you breathe a tremendous sigh of relief. While it may seem like your work here as a nurse practitioner is done, think again. As you tick off the next ten days from your calendar, there are still a few things you’ll want to do before breaking into an official celebratory dance.
1. Stay focused
Though you undoubtedly have one foot out the door, you still have a duty to your patients to continue providing them with a high standard of care; as such patients must remain at the center of your focus regardless of the terms you’re leaving under. Continue as well to be as productive as you normally would had you not given your notice. Your patients will appreciate you for it, as will your employer.
2. Assist in the transition
Even if your employer does not have a replacement for you yet, going above and beyond to ensure the transition is smooth for whomever will be taking your place says a lot about your character. Remember that though you’re leaving, your colleagues (likely) are not and they may end up being responsible for picking up your slack after you’ve left. So tie up any loose ends, such as ensuring that all of your charting is complete, making it easy for whomever to pick up exactly where you left off. Take it a step further by making yourself available after you’ve gone to answer any questions other providers may have about your patients.
Don’t forget to adhere to any guidelines your employer has about informing patients of your exit. If you have a non-compete or non-solicitation clause in your nurse practitioner contract, this may spell out stipulations around taking your patients with you when you go.
3. Know how you’ll handle a counter offer
While your mind is already made up about your resignation, be prepared that your employer may propose a counter offer sometime in the next ten days in order to keep you onboard. In most cases, it’s not a good idea to accept an offer to stay as there were reasons why you started looking for a new job in the first place. Having a plan in place as to how you’ll respectfully decline if and when a counter offer is presented will help you from being caught off-guard and making any hasty decisions. Remember that accepting means you’ll have to recommit yourself emotionally to the position and stay for an extended period of time.
4. Keep a positive attitude
Giving notice does not give you free rein to talk poorly or gossip about your employer or any of your colleagues. To avoid burning any bridges, abide by the old adages, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all” and “it’s not you, it’s me”. Maintaining a positive attitude, even on your private social media account, is especially important regardless of if you have no intention of ever being rehired. You never know who you may end up working with or for in the future. Partaking in negativity does you no favors and only reflects poorly on your level of professionalism.
5. Pay a visit to Human Resources
Before your departure, schedule a sit down with human resources to go over any questions you may have about compensation or benefits owed to you. Be sure to ask for copies of agreements or contracts you’ve signed for your records and go over any clauses that may still be applicable. Use the time to ask about your retirement accounts and how they’ll roll over, as well as your insurance coverage, especially if you do not have another job lined up or are otherwise expecting a lapse in coverage during your transition. Taking care of personnel matters before you leave alleviates the hassle of trying to iron things out after you’ve left, when information will be more difficult to obtain.
6. Give an honest exit interview
While you’re tying up loose ends with HR, you may be asked to partake in an exit interview. Even though it may be extremely tempting to give them one final piece of your mind, don’t use the time to bash or throw anyone under the bus. Remember that the feedback you give will be documented and shared in some format, so be honest but also professional and constructive about what worked for you and what didn’t. Staying poised and professional in your exit interview will not only help you keep from burning any bridges, but your employer will be more likely to actually take into consideration your thoughts, rather than assume your point of view is clouded.
7. Ask for references
Now is the time to ask for references from influential colleagues of whom you’ve had positive contact with, even if you already have another position lined up. Asking them while you’re still physically in the workplace makes it easier for them to remember certain details about your work ethic as well as easier for them to remember to sit down to write a letter of recommendation for you. Once you’ve left it can be harder to pin them down.
8. Say goodbye
On your final day, write an email or formally say your goodbyes in person to your co-workers, telling how much you’ve enjoyed working with them and that you wish them luck in the future. You may also want to give them your personal contact information in your farewell email, should they need to reach out to you once you’ve gone.
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