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How to Write a Nursing Resignation Letter

Gayle Morris, BSN, MSN
by
Updated February 3, 2023
    Nursing resignation letters are formal communications that must include specific information. Use these tips to craft a professional letter.
    Credit: svetikd / Getty Images
    • Before you write a nursing resignation letter, consider speaking to your supervisor or manager about your decision.
    • The best way to leave a job is with grace.
    • Nursing resignation letters should be short, to the point, and professional.

    Nurses are leaving their jobs for other positions to switch careers. An NSI Nursing Solutions survey of 272 hospitals from 32 states showed the nursing turnover rate was 27.1% in 2021. This was an 18.7% increase from 2020. According to the statistics, in the previous five years, hospitals experienced a 100.5% turnover of their healthcare staff and 61.2% of the hospitals surveyed said their registered nurse vacancy rate was higher than 15%.

    Whether you’re leaving your job or the profession altogether, you must notify your employer, usually by writing a nursing resignation letter. The best way to leave a job is with grace and without burning bridges. You never know when you may need a reference or a network connection.

    Review these tips about how to write a nursing resignation letter, including the information that needs to be included and sample resignation letters.

    What to Consider Before Writing a Nursing Resignation Letter

    If you are reconsidering your nursing job, you should give your employer as much notice as possible. A formal nursing resignation letter can help your employer adjust and find someone to fill your position if necessary. While two weeks’ notice is the minimum time, a nurse can give up to six weeks’ notice so their replacement can be hired and trained before they leave.

    Debbie Winkelbauer is the CEO of a recruiting firm that specializes in the healthcare industry. She has helped nurses navigate transitions between jobs and careers. She understands that often nurses feel guilty when they begin to look for a new job since caretakers are not used to putting themselves first. She advises her clients to imagine themselves 10 years in the future as they craft their resignation letters.

    “The troubles of today are far behind them and time has softened any frustrations. What will they wish they had or hadn’t said to their boss, looking back? Write from that perspective,” she says.

    Be sure that you abide by any contractual policies. For example, if you accepted tuition reimbursement, you may have to refund the hospital if you still need to meet the agreed-upon employment time in the contract.

    What to Include in a Nursing Resignation Letter

    As you discover how to write a nursing resignation letter, it is important to remember that this is formal communication. Resignation letters should be straightforward and contain the following:

    • The date the letter was written
    • Your contact information (name, title, address, etc.)
    • The contact information for the organization and the name of the individual to whom the letter is addressed
    • A proper introduction that clearly states the letter is a submission of your resignation
    • The date of your resignation
    • Your signature

    You have the option of including the reason for your departure from nursing and a brief statement about your employment, such as the positive things that you experienced while working. This statement of gratitude helps to mark a positive end to your employment, even if your experience was not as you had expected.

    Before you write the letter, consider speaking to your supervisor or manager about your decision to resign. The organization may have a specific process for resignation that you must follow. For example, there may be documentation you must update or specific individuals that must receive your letter.

    Nursing Resignation Letter Example

    Your nursing resignation letter does not have to be long. Here is an example that communicates all the necessary information.

    James Thomas, RN
    1151 Broadway Street
    Tecumseh, Nebraska 68450

    January 5, 2023

    Grace Paris, RN, BSN, MSN
    Unit Manager, ICU
    Johnson County Hospital
    202 High Street
    Tecumseh, Nebraska 68450

    Dear Ms. Paris,

    I’m writing to inform you of my intent to resign from my position as a staff nurse in the ICU at Johnson County Hospital. My last day of work will be February 3, 2023.

    Working in the ICU has been rewarding. I learned a great deal about working successfully with a team and acquired many leadership skills from the discerning way in which you led our unit. Thank you for this opportunity.

    If you believe it would be helpful, I am happy to assist in training my successor. If you have any questions, my email is JThomas@yyyy.com or my cell phone is 555-555-5555.

    Respectfully,

    James Thomas, RN

    cc: Human resources

    3 Important Tips for Nurses Who Want to Resign

    There Is Nothing to Feel Guilty About

    Winkelbauer recommends that nurses practice self-care and forgiveness. She recounted that after placing a nurse in her dream role at a new hospital, the nurse was plagued with guilt over having left her previous position.

    “I reminded her that there is no shame in moving on to a role that better suits her unique skills and talents,” she says. “Take a moment to think about the opportunity you’ve opened up for someone else, who might be perfect in your old position.”

    You should also remember that moving to another position expands your experiences and helps to grow your career.

    Make the Letter Easy to Read

    When you are writing your nursing resignation letter, it’s important to keep it short and to use a traditional font so the letter is easy to read. If the letter is printed, use a serif font like Times New Roman. If you’re sending an email, you can use a sans serif font such as Arial or Calibri in size 12.

    Remember to proofread the resignation letter. It will likely go into your file in the hospital and represents your professionalism. Make sure it is grammatically correct, and all the necessary information is included.

    How to Send a Resignation Email

    If you choose to send a resignation email, keep all of the information the same. Create an informative subject line that indicates it’s a resignation letter. This ensures your employer will open it promptly. For example, you could write “James Thomas — Notice of Resignation.”

    When you write an email you don’t need a header with your contact information on the top, but you should consider attaching a physical copy of the resignation as a pdf so the employer can either print it or save it electronically.

    Meet Our Contributor

    Portrait of Debbie Winkelbauer

    Debbie Winkelbauer

    Debbie Winkelbauer’s recruiting career focuses on healthcare, medical device, pharmaceutical, biotech, and consumer products. After receiving a BS in biology from the University of California, San Diego, Debbie spent four years in the Department of Medical Genetics at UCSD School of Medicine as a clinical researcher. After a successful stint in pharma sales (third in the nation with Berlex Labs), Debbie launched her recruiting career and never looked back.