What To Do Next You’re Laid Off From Your Nursing Job

Losing a nursing job can feel like your world is turned upside down. In fact, In 2023, there have been 34 examples of layoffs in hospitals and health systems, with 743 employees being laid off, about a third of whom are registered nurses.

When financial and emotional stress sets in, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to get back on your feet. The good news is that with strategic planning, networking, and a positive mindset, a layoff often opens new doors. There are always growing areas in healthcare that value nursing expertise. This guide covers key tips for bouncing back—we’re in your corner through the process.

How to Handle the Initial Layoff

Having the rug pulled out from under you is understandably destabilizing. Before reacting, carefully review the details of the layoff to understand your options.
  • Request the separation terms in writing—understand whether it was a performance-related termination or strictly downsizing. This determines eligibility for unemployment or severance.
  • Learn about any compensation package offerings and your rights to equity, unused paid time off, 401K contributions, and the like.
  • Inquire about healthcare insurance extensions to have coverage during job transitions. Know the duration and cost obligations.
  • File for unemployment benefits as early as possible, even if receiving severance. The weekly payments help bridge income gaps later after other funds are depleted.
  • Finally, assess your complete financial picture holistically, including expenses, any severance period, emergency, and retirement savings. This allows the development of an actionable budget through the job search.
Having answers to these aspects minimizes stress and prevents rushed, emotional decisions. It buys time to thoughtfully navigate the next steps.

Exploring Career Alternatives

When one door closes, open your mind to what new ones may await. A layoff fuels reinvention chances.
  • Re-envision traditional hospital nursing roles by considering clinic, long-term/rehabilitative care, home health, telephonic triage, or school nursing positions. These deploy your skill set differently.
  • Lookup emerging remote nursing roles in telehealth, pharma, health insurance, or medico-legal consulting realms. Many companies now offer flexibility to work from home.
  • Or move laterally as a care coordinator, informatics analyst, device sales specialist, or medical writer. Transferable analytical, tech, communications, and bedside strengths enable these transitions.
  • Don’t overlook interim travel assignments or overseas medical corps opportunities to gain adventures while awaiting the right permanent role.
  • Let experienced nursing/healthcare staffing agencies like Total Nurses Network simplify your job search. Communicate your niche specialty desire and they’ll likely have something aligned.
Having an assertive, creative vision for how your background can progress your career empowers possibilities. Limiting self to “nurse = hospital job” wastes this potential.

Strategize Your Nursing Job Search

A layoff makes standing out to potential employers more imperative than ever. Be diligently proactive, not passively hopeful, throughout your search by:
  • Crafting an accomplishments-focused nursing resume that quantifies your patient care impacts, cost improvement, and process enhancements. Reflect broadly applicable strengths in communication, empathy, tech-savvy, analytics, and adaptability.
  • Running it by several trusted advisors including friends, former colleagues, and recruiters to optimize the presentation.
  • Actively networking through your personal and nursing associations by messaging contacts about your experience and ideal next role. Follow up persistently to remain top of mind.
  • Evaluating your LinkedIn presence as many recruiters source online first. Are your profile headline, descriptions, and experience sections search optimized for visibility?
  • Posting content or thought pieces to stay engaged with your professional ecosystem while between roles. Comment, share, like, and connect broadly.
  • Tracking and organizing job search efforts is equally vital to nail interviews when secured. With assertive planning, perseverance, and leveraging resources, you can make this transition brief and land strongly. The next chapter holds much promise.

Financial Planning While Laid Off

Income changes demand quick budget revisions so money stress doesn’t compound job transition stress. Take control by:
  • Constructing a lean budget reflecting only absolute essential living expenses—housing, food, health insurance, transportation.
  • Accessing any emergency savings or rainy day funds to subsidize gaps between severance/unemployment run out and reemployment. Don’t tap retirement accounts prematurely and risk tax penalties.
  • Researching medical insurance options. While expensive, going uninsured is riskier. Some professional associations provide bridge plans also.
  • Calling creditors quickly to explain the situation and request hardship extensions or reduced payments until finances stabilize with a new role. Many understand and can accommodate temporarily.
  • Inquiring about any employee assistance resources from your former employer that assist with job seeking, financial guidance, or training costs. Maximizing these available benefits eases the transition.
With prudent adjustments and some belt-tightening, you can weather this storm. And the lessons learned make you more resilient for future life changes.

Taking Advantage of New Possibilities

Every setback bears a silver lining. A layoff, while difficult, frequently sparks productive reinvention:
  • Seize opportunities for skills enhancement or certifications before unused tuition funds vanish. Becoming an Emergency or Wound Care certified nurse expands prospects.
  • Catalog all transferrable competencies mastered from bedside care into tools like a skills inventory worksheet or resume skills section. These aid in matching lateral openings in care coordination, clinical education, consulting etc.
  • Schedule informational interviews with nurses in non-hospital settings of interest like clinics, home health, case management, pharma etc to learn more about those roles and organizations.
  • Reflect carefully on aspects you most/least enjoyed professionally before the layoff. Reassess if nursing fully aligns with your passion and talents or if you should explore something new entirely.
Sometimes our paths close because our skills are better directed elsewhere we would have never proactively chosen. But being pressed leads us there. Keep an open, growth-focused mindset knowing opportunities exist to broaden your impact meaningfully. ‍This period will provide clarity.

Staying Positive in Your Job Transition

Job loss grief is real. Allowing some space for disappointment, frustration, and even anger is normal. Then refocus energy into productive planning and self-care to avoid spiraling. Some ways to maintain perspective and positivity include:
  • Continuing healthy routines like proper sleep, nutrition, exercise, and social connections. Don’t isolate – lean on nursing peers who lend patient ears as support systems.
  • Exploring mindfulness practices like journaling, meditation apps, spiritual community, or counseling via employee assistance programs. Having tools to process stress prevents overwhelm.
  • Tracking progress and celebrating small milestones like applications submitted, interviews secured, and certifications achieved. Momentum breeds motivation.
  • Spending time outdoors, volunteering to help those less fortunate, or pursuing hobbies. Serving others/things unrelated to your transition provides meaning.
  • Trusting that with diligent yet patient effort focusing on controllable actions, this stretch remains surmountable, not defining. Optimism fuels resilience.
You’ve overcome other nursing challenges by supporting and uplifting each other. This time is no different. Stay connected to that care and encouragement as needed until the next opportunity appears. Then pay it forward.

Key Takeaways on Coping With a Layoff

Landing on your feet after a nursing layoff requires equal parts pragmatic planning and a mindset shift. In closing, some key actions include:
  • Quickly filing for unemployment benefits to enable finances supporting your transition.
  • Taking inventory of transferable hard and soft skills from past roles to open possibilities.
  • Updating your resume, activating networks, maximizing visibility to unlock next opportunities.
  • Researching lateral nursing openings or adjacent healthcare roles matching your strengths.
  • Seeking tuition/training resources to expand your expertise for new challenges ahead.
  • Prioritizing essential expenses if needed while optimizing healthcare coverage continuity.
  • Most importantly, remaining resilient by embracing support systems, self-care, and an empowered perspective.

Initially destabilizing, adopting solution-focused strategies reinforced by the community allows moving forward stronger. Nursing ingenuity powers reinvention. You’ve got this!

At Total Nurses Network, we specialize in placing nurses into rewarding roles across the Midwest. If you need guidance transitioning specialties or locations, or simply want a knowledgeable advocate securing that next ideal nursing job, visit us at TotalNursesNetwork.com to learn more about our personalized approach and openings. With pragmatic support, this stretch empowers your brightest chapter ahead.