I work in healthcare and I had my schedule finalized, and my supervisors changed it for training in an area I do not feel comfortable in.

This training is not required, how do I turn this down? I would like to turn it down via e-mail but sound polite and professional.

  • Why not just refuse?
    – Kilisi
    Mar 2, 2023 at 22:25
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    via email, I just don't know how to start my refusal in an email? Mar 2, 2023 at 22:26
  • @Kilisi I was scheduled 9-2130 and they changed it to 630-1900 and would like to keep it my late shift. They are extremely temperamental and I'm trying to stay in one area so I can focus on school. This place always makes me feel threatened Mar 2, 2023 at 22:30
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    If any possible, have a face to face discussion. You can follow it up with an e-mail if you want the paper trail. Most likely there will be some back and forth around this an e-mail is a poor medium for an interactive discussion. Even worse: opening with an e-mail puts you in a weak negotiation position.
    – Hilmar
    Mar 2, 2023 at 23:30
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    Isn't the point of training to make you feel more comfortable in an area?
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 3, 2023 at 1:48

2 Answers 2


TL;DR: don't decline without discussing the issue first. Ask your supervisor for a meeting, and try to sort this out before taking any further action.

You want something from your supervisor, the best way to start is to politely ask. First, I would ask for a meeting. This can be done face to face or via your usual communication channel. Either way, you can always be procative and tell them the goal of the meeting, as most managers like to know what they'll be dealing with, schedule an estimated timeframe and maybe even have another proposal or arrangement ready.

Hi Bob, can we schedule a meeting between the two of us to discuss the changes in my schedule and the training you've been enrolling me in? I'm not comfortable with that, I really hope we can find a solution that would fit better our expectations.

You're asking for a discussion, and your goal is to find a solution about something that's bothering you. You're not putting pressure in any way, but you're clear enough about what you don't like right now. You're giving an argument, not an ultimatum.

Once you're set up, have some arguments ready for the meeting, explain why you dislike the shift modification and the training area, but listen to their arguments first. Maybe the training is aimed at giving you more chances to succeed. Maybe they want you to be ready to move to another department, and then, if you don't want that, you'll have some more options to discuss.

Most of the time, we have professional and/or personal reasons why we don't want to do something. Be ready to explain what makes you feel uncomfortable, but also be ready to offer a solution maybe. What about giving this training a try? This new schedule a try for a couple of weeks? You can always turn it down later, once you know better. You can decline upfront, but why would you do that without listening to their offer?

You ask for a polite and professional way to decline? No matter what, you can't really do that without talking to your supervisor first and listen to their arguement, and explain yours. That will give you more time, with more insight, to think about your next step.

  • This is wonderful thank you. I work in a hospital and I do not mind working their other areas, just this one area is a major problem in our department. It is extremely distracting and hostile and has been reported to HR. I'm trying to figure out how to professionally say, I do not feel comfortable in your most problematic area without being rude. Mar 5, 2023 at 20:36
  • It's a pharmacy and I'm an IV tech. I have worked in their Oncology Infusion, Outpatient Surgery, main IV Room, and Chemo, even willing to do their ER department. Its the Peds department that has all the issues, three of the pharmacists have been reported and I'm trying to avoid all the confrontational issues. I'm currently in school and trying to stay focused. They asked me if I wanted to work in Peds, but I said I'm not comfortable, they agreed it was totally fine and said, "just thought we should ask is all". But now they are changing my schedule w/o having me train without consent. Mar 5, 2023 at 20:41
  • I hope this puts a little more perspective Mar 5, 2023 at 20:41
  • To me, this means you seem like their (only?) last option though. Then, time to talk, as I said. And negociate.
    – OldPadawan
    Mar 5, 2023 at 20:51
  • thank you I sent email that I would like to discuss why I'm uncomfortable. Mar 5, 2023 at 20:58

Here you go:

"Hi Manager,

I want to put this in writing that I am uncomfortable with the recent change(s) to my work schedule and department. As such, unless we can find a way to revert me to my previous schedule and department, I will be resigning"

Feel free to change as needed. Nothing long or fancy, just short and to the point - you don't like the new arrangement and if between yourselves you can't come up with a solution, you're off.

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    Thank you I was looking for a way to start besides my basic "fuck off" I appreciate it. When writing these managers, I feel like I just stare at my screen trying to figure out how to not offend these days. I just want to lay low, I don't even want pay increases I just want out of the field as soon as possible. Mar 2, 2023 at 22:43
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    @AshleyClark - you'd be surprised how effective a well placed and well used 'Fuck off' can be :D Mar 2, 2023 at 22:44
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    That last sentence of the quote is a bit of a nuclear flyswatter....
    – keshlam
    Mar 3, 2023 at 1:39
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    Yeah, but "or leave" should left implicit until it must be invoked. Too much chance of "if you're not even going to try to discuss it, you're too much trouble to deal with and you're welcome to quit." Graduated response.
    – keshlam
    Mar 3, 2023 at 3:32
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    "do what I want or a quit" is bad advice in general, as a first effort to resolve an issue it is appalling.
    – Eric Nolan
    Mar 3, 2023 at 9:21

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