Quote from llg
Not all schools require a criminal background -- and even some who do are not allowed to look at the results or consider them in student selection. In some schools, the background checks are simply turned over to the clinical facilities who make the decision as to whether the student can come there for clinicals or not. I know that because I am the person in the hospital who checks them for those schools who have policies against the faculty seeing the background checks.
So the answer to your question is clear: No, the "rules" are not universal. It varies from place to place.
I finally broke down and called my local BON. This is pretty much what they said. Another poster above also said the drug screens and background checks were for the clinical sites not the school. Thats exactly what my BON said.
The answer I got: Schools have nothing at all mandated to them concerning who they can admit to the program. Any policies they have in place with regards to drug screens and background checks are implemented by the school by choice. Indirectly though, the state does control entry into nursing school programs through two avenues:
1. The drug screens and background checks required by the facilities that accommodate clinical hours for the school. If a student can not pass either of these two requirements, they can not complete the clinical course work.
2. The rules governing who can sit for state boards. If someone has something in their background that would prevent them from being allowed to gain licensure, why bother going through the schooling?
These are very indirect means of control though.