Old Conviction? Dashed hopes?

  1. Hello Everybody! I'm new here. This looks like a wonderful forum for nurses and nurse wannabees. I wish I could take more time to just lurk and read posts before posting, but this is weighing very heavy on my heart and mind.

    About six years ago I was arrested for shoplifting at Walmart. Even as I post this, I am extremely embarrassed and ashamed by it. I had hoped to leave that totally behind me. But now I am taking the NA class at our local college and desire very much to go on to become an RN, my fear is that I will go through all the education then be considered unhireable because of that earlier conviction. I wanted to ask my instructor about it, but am too embarrassed.

    To those of you who presently work as nurses, what is the policy of the establishment where your work?
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   jnette
    Hello, Ann42 and welcome to the BB.

    We have all done some pretty stupid things in our past, and while shoplifting to one might be a major STUPID thing, what that person may have done is in another's eyes even dumber... so no judgement here... we all have some little boo-boo in our closets.. don't know too many perfect folks, do you?

    That said, I would suggest inquiring at your State BON and run it by them, and just "inquire". Drop them an email.. if you're too embarrassed, use a friend's email addresse or something. Just a thought. But don't give up before you even get started. Honesty is always the best way to deal with things like this.

    Wish you the best.
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I like jnette's suggestion. I was busted for shoplifting at 16, thinking it was "cute"........STUPID THING I DID. You are not alone as jnette says.....many of us have things we did that now shame us. I wish you luck in your pursuits. welcome to the boards!
  5. by   SirJohnny
    Ann42:

    - Some advice:

    1. Do not approach ANY of your professors about your personal problems. They are NOT in a position to help you, and they could make things difficult for you.

    2. Take your question to the school counselor/advisor. Ask for a closed door meeting to discuss your situation.

    3. Write to the state boards in your state. Just send a letter that quickly details the facts. You were convicted of shoplifting on XXXXX, this was the penalty, and you have had no convictions since. Next, ask what restrictions would be imposed on you towards becomming a nurse. Meaning, can you pursue your ASN/BSN and more importantly can you sit for the RN exam and be licensed in your state.

    Also, talk to some of the travel nurse recruiters -- they are familiar with the license process for some states. See what they have to say. More importantly get names and number from thesese recruiters of who to contact at the state level.

    4. Bottom line, you will want more than some verbal response. You will need something in writing.

    If need be, contact a lawyer (will run $500) to do some research for you. It's expensive -- but worth it. Tell lawer you want stuff in writing - don't just take lawyers word for it.

    5. On a personal note, I would certainly hope that a shoplifting conviction x number of years ago would not hinder your chances of becomming a nurse.

    Good luck.

    John Coxey
  6. by   SirJohnny
    Also....

    if you were convicted as a juvenile --- doesn't this come off your record when you hit 21 years of age.

    I am not a lawyer, but it's something to consider and ask about.

    John Coxey
  7. by   SirJohnny
    Looking at our employment application. I am in the computer science industry.

    - They state to list all felonies. Nothing about misdemeanors, etc.

    - Is shoplifting at Wall-Mart a felony?

    John Coxey
  8. by   fourbirds4me
    John,
    I don't know about other states but the OK BON wants to know about ALL offenses.
  9. by   Harleyhead
    Some good advice all over. Do not discuss this at school it could only take one person to cause a problem. The state BON would be the better solution. Good Luck
  10. by   txsugarlvn
    Ann42, I checked the Kentucky Board of Nursing but it requires more research than I have time for right now. What I did see is an email address for someone that you can contact with questions regarding rules/laws/regulations. You can even order the booklet with the laws and regulations for $2. Something to consider.
    The others are right in advising not to mention it to your instructors. It would probably be wise not to mention it to classmates either.
    I believe shoplifting is considered a misdemeanor and should not be held against you when you apply to take the boards but check your state nursing board for verification.
    If you don't have the website on hand, just type in Kentucky Board of Nursing and a link will pop up for you. I wish you the best. We all make mistakes in life and learn our lessons (most of us anyway )
    Good luck!
  11. by   RN2007
    You can also call your state BON. I was told by the lady that as long as it happened over 5 years ago, and was only a misdemeanor that was not any form of abuse, assault, or death related, more than 1 DUI/DWI that you would be okay, and could get all nursing licenses without a problem. Felonies are an absolute NO. However, she said when you are filling out any type of application,or are otherwise asked about this, ALWAYS tell the truth and explain how you learned from it, in other words that you had dealt with this problem, and you will be fine. She said of course NEVER lie by not reporting this, etc., even if you do not think you will get caught, because you can be terminated automatically later when or if your job or the Board of Nursing finds out about the lie, even if your crime/arrest did not show up on your record when they did the criminal background investigation for whatever reason.

    So, when you pull up on the internet your state Board of Nursing, they also have a phone number listed, go ahead and call them and be very specific about everything and that way you will know now. I remember when I called about 2 months ago, an answering machine took my message and so I just left my first name and phone # and said I had a question that I needed the BON to answer and to please return my call. A lady from my state BON called me back the next day and now I feel a lot better and now I know I will not have any problems.
  12. by   Ann42
    Thanks for all the quick responses! The shoplifting was a misdemeaner, the amount of goods taken amounted to only about $11. I believe the amount stolen has to be worth more than $300 to be considered a felony. We were very short of money and I panicked and tried to steal spaghetti and some other food items. Now I know it's better to just go hungry!

    I'm glad now I didn't go ahead and talk to my instructor. Neither did I share this with any of my classmates. It sounds like, from your posts, that I can still take the test and become a fully registered nurse someday. I guess when it comes to filling out applications, I'll just have to bite the bullet and explain.

    I'm going to do my very best in my classes. Perhaps, hard work and good grades will make up for the blot on my past. I'm also studying Spanish in the hope that I will be able to work with Hispanic patients.

    The number in my name "Ann42" tell my age...or almost my age. I turn 42 on July 3rd.

    Thank you so much for helping me. :-)
  13. by   Agnus
    As advised contact your state board and ask. Now be aware that when you apply for your license and fill out the questionairthat you must be maticulously honest.

    Lying on this application is worse than any offense you may have committed in the past. Lying about such things will automatically disqualify you even if you would not otherwise be disqualified.

    By the way I have learned that any professional or occupational license, or business license etc looks at lying the same way.

    As you said bite the bullet and fess up. If they have already told you that this is not a deterent to a license then fessing up will not hurt you. On the other hand they will catch up with any dishonesty on the application.

    I have known nurses who were able to get thier license with more serious convictions than yours.

    Congratulations on your courage.
  14. by   passing thru
    Not for Ann, but for others who may be reading this thread.....

    As nurses, many of us work in people's homes..

    They may have large amounts of money, narcotics, diamonds, emeralds, and other valuables "just lying around the house."

    They may be too elderly, ill, infirm, forgetful, to even realize
    the stuff is there. They don't realize that most people do not live their lives with large bottles of IV and PO narcotics crammed into the linen closet and in the cabinet under the bathroom sink.
    And I've seen more than $ 300,000 lying about for months.....once came across 5 dusty rings in an unused
    ash tray.........."oh yeah"........(they had forgotten about them, )
    hadn't seen them in years, didn't even wonder where they
    were...........
    Large emeralds & diamonds ! She had lots more....
    The jewelry wasn't high on her priority list.

    People like these exist in every city and hospital. The public has
    to be protected from sticky fingers and opportunists.

    The elderly, weak, ill, trusting, deserve to be free of
    those who perceive them as possible PREY.

    If you have a character that looks for opportunities to
    "get something for nothing"...........then there's a good
    chance you do not belong in nursing.

    I wish you well Ann, but honestly, I think your age at the time you committed the crime is against you.

    People in positions of authority think thirty- somethings
    should know the difference in right & wrong.....
    Last edit by passing thru on Jun 13, '03

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