Fingerprinting Problem...Help!

  1. Can someone please give me some advice.
    I am in my second semester in the ADN program. We are doing our clinicals at VA Medical Center, and we had to get fingerprinted.
    Mine came back (dirty I guess). And I was locked up and (I guess) convicted when I was 18 years old. I am now 27. I am so stressed. My instructors told me that VA is not going to allow me to do my clinicals there, and I will be forced to drop that class, as well as my ohter classes.
    So is this really the end for me? I don't know what to do. I have been in school for 3 years, and I will not sit back and accept this as a waste of my time....if I can get some advice.
    I have burned a whole tank of gas today driving from one police district to another.
    I didn't think it was all that serious. It was a misdemeanor.

    I don't wanna say too much. ANy advice?
    •  
  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   twinmommy+2
    Thats ok hunny, you don't have to give us details if you don't want to.

    Have you talked to the dean yet or the chair person? I would think they could make an exeption for a misdemeanor right?

    Take it up to the top if you have to and talk to the hospital too.
  4. by   z's playa
    Misdemeaners are normally not considered a road block in most programs, even if you were fingerprinted. At least its like that here. I'm not sure about drug misdemeaners and I'm pretty sure the States is different about what they consider is a felony concerning drugs. A friend of mine had a drug charge but went on to finish nsg school. Really push to find out what and why this is happening to you. good luck.
  5. by   elkpark
    It's fine if you don't want to divulge details on a public board like this, but if the VA is not allowing you in for clinicals and the school is telling you that you have to drop all your other classes as well, I'm wondering whether that is because the nursing faculty at your school realize that your history will make you ineligible for licensure.

    Your best bet would be to contact your state Board of Nursing and be v. honest and direct with them about your past legal history, and get an official answer from them about whether you will be eligible to be licensed as a nurse, and then go from there.

    You may as well tell them everything now -- extensive background checks are done before you are authorized to sit the NCLEX, and it will look worse for you if you have withheld information from them and they find out on their own.

    Sorry for your difficulties, and best wishes --
  6. by   Altra
    I believe that people can turn their lives around, and I'm certainly not the same person that I was at 18.

    Having said that, however, I'm a little puzzled by a few things ...

    1) You "guess" you were convicted? You don't know? This kinda seems like a big deal, not a minor detail that might have slipped your mind, KWIM? Have you applied for & gotten jobs since that time?

    2) Did your school not run a criminal history check, or require you to obtain one, or at least advise on their application that there are circumstances that preclude licensure as a nurse in your state?

    3) As soon as you were told about the fingerprint check, did it not occur to you that this would be a problem? You waited for the check to come back and were suprised at the results?

    Unfortunately, unless your record is somehow inaccurate, I sincerely doubt that an exception will be made for you.

    My school's application quotes the regulations from the state board of nursing - unless 10 years has elapsed since a felony conviction or any conviction involving drugs or alcohol, it's very unlikely that a person with any of those convictions can be licensed in PA. Individual hospitals used as clinical sites may have additional requirements as well, and nursing programs have no control over those.
    Last edit by Altra on Feb 10, '05
  7. by   JustAnuthaGirl
    Quote from MLOS
    I believe that people can turn their lives around, and I'm certainly not the same person that I was at 18.

    Having said that, however, I'm a little puzzled by a few things ...

    1) You "guess" you were convicted? You don't know? This kinda seems like a big deal, not a minor detail that might have slipped your mind, KWIM? Have you applied for & gotten jobs since that time?

    2) Did your school not run a criminal history check, or require you to obtain one, or at least advise on their application that there are circumstances that preclude licensure as a nurse in your state?

    3) As soon as you were told about the fingerprint check, did it not occur to you that this would be a problem? You waited for the check to come back and were suprised at the results?

    Unfortunately, unless your record is somehow inaccurate, I sincerely doubt that an exception will be made for you.

    My school's application quotes the regulations from the state board of nursing - unless 10 years has elapsed since a felony conviction or any conviction involving drugs or alcohol, it's very unlikely that a person with any of those convictions can be licensed in PA. Individual hospitals used as clinical sites may have additional requirements as well, and nursing programs have no control over those.

    To answer you, I didn't even remember being locked up when I was 18 until my mom refreshed my memory. I was convicted, I just said I guess because back then I was not aware of the seriousness of the case. It was not a drug charge, but assault. It has not quite been 10 years, but 9. I did not even think twice about having a problem with fingerprinting because I have had police clearances, background checks, and I never had a problem with any of those. I held the same confidence with getting my fingerprints taken as I do with having a drug test....I don't do anything wrong. And yes, my schools handbook does state with the exact words "no felony conviction other than a minor traffic violation" when it comes to taking the state boards. Even after reading that, like I said, I did not even remember being in trouble with the law because it was so long ago, and I only got 6 months of probation from it.

    And to the other question, my school nor VA are aware of what exactly is on my record. I asked them, and they told me they don't know. They just know it isn't clear. I am hoping to get all of that information together myself since they are not interested in finding out. I plan to get my own record, and work with things from there.

    I will take the advice given, and I will keep trying to get things straight. Thanks for the responses, and support.
  8. by   z's playa
    Then they are basing their decision on the sole fact that your fingerprints came back? Gimme a break. I got my fingerprints taken too when i was 5 for the "lost Kids thing put on by the boy scouts at the EX. For a school to accept you without even asking for fingerprints prior to you paying your tuition.......well you should sue them and get your money back. Thats corrupt if you ask me.
  9. by   ZootRN
    My school didn't ask for fingerprints when they accepted me. I've never heard of fingerprinting as a condition for acceptance. We even signed licensure waiver, which stated school won't be held responsible if you will graduate, but won't pass you boards. I don't know how you can sue school for not asking your fingerptints before paying your tuition. They told us to contact board, if we have anything in our records, because school has no power over board and their decision whether the graduate will be eligible to sit the licensure exam.
    And last semester I had my clinicals at VA Medical Center, they didn't fingerprint us either. I guess, it's different from state to state. Good luck to you!


    Quote from z's playa
    Then they are basing their decision on the sole fact that your fingerprints came back? Gimme a break. I got my fingerprints taken too when i was 5 for the "lost Kids thing put on by the boy scouts at the EX. For a school to accept you without even asking for fingerprints prior to you paying your tuition.......well you should sue them and get your money back. Thats corrupt if you ask me.
  10. by   LPN01112005
    "It was not a drug charge, but assault"

    BINGO. Some convictions will preclude you from licensure. I believe assault is one of them. You may be able to overcome it with the help of some character witnesses and a clean record since then, but probably not in time to finish your VA clinical rotation. I'd say you need to take the advice of your counselors at school, and perhaps you can reapply once it's taken care of.
  11. by   dave1117
    If it was clearly a misdemeanor than you can legally request that it be expunged from your record. Talk to a lawyer if necesary, but a judge can look at your record over the last 9 years, review your case from 9 years ago, consider your reasons for wanting it removed and officially remove the charge from your record. They will not remove felonies, and will not remove misdemeanors if there is a pattern that is still current. Again every state has its own rules but this is possible in most. Further, if the state licencing board does not have a problem with your misdemeanor and all it comes down to is the VA hospital, perhaps you will have to go to another school that does not use that hospital. Did you consider talking to the administrator of the VA hospital and explaining your case? There hands may be tied but it is worth a shot. You may have to show your record to proove it was only a misdemeanor...

    Good Luck, don't give up without a fight, dave
  12. by   elkpark
    For a school to accept you without even asking for fingerprints prior to you paying your tuition.......well you should sue them and get your money back. Thats corrupt if you ask me.
    I've been in nursing a long time now, and I've never heard of a school requiring fingerprints and doing criminal background checks. That would be considered an unnecessary invasion of the student's privacy because you don't have to pass any sort of criminal background check to go to school. When you enroll in a nursing program, the program is in no way guaranteeing that you will be licensed as a nurse -- just that they will provide the education required to make you eligible for licensure. Every program I've been aware of has made the students aware that they will have to pass background checks to be licensed, and that some past criminal offenses may create problems or preclude licensure -- but those decisions are the responsibility of the BON, not schools.

    Now, if schools started refusing to accept students because of their legal backgrounds, that's when you'd see the lawsuits! :chuckle
  13. by   DenaInWyo
    My school does the same background check that the BON does. I guess they figure that turning us loose in a hospital for clinicals would warrant such..makes sense to me. Since we don't require students to be CNAs before attending the ADN program, I think it's only fair that students who will be having direct pt contact should be checked out first. It's also helpful to know that if you've passed this background check, you should be in the clear for the BON one down the road.

    To the OP..I'm with the person who said you should call the BON. Getting your record expunged may not do any good if this is through the BON already..I would imagine they have your name down somewhere, and expunged or not, they want you to divulge your past ... it's the integrity thing.

    ON a personal soapbox side note though..speaking of divulging, it sure makes no sense to me to jump through hoops getting old documentation to prove you had a problem that will a)not show up on a background check anyway, or at least you hope, and b) wouldn't keep you from getting your liscense anyway. What a waste of time, money and effort on everyone's part. If it wouldn't effect your liscensure, why bring it up? You don't dare not do it though, on the off chance it DID show up and you hadn't divulged it.


    Quote from elkpark
    I've been in nursing a long time now, and I've never heard of a school requiring fingerprints and doing criminal background checks. That would be considered an unnecessary invasion of the student's privacy because you don't have to pass any sort of criminal background check to go to school. When you enroll in a nursing program, the program is in no way guaranteeing that you will be licensed as a nurse -- just that they will provide the education required to make you eligible for licensure. Every program I've been aware of has made the students aware that they will have to pass background checks to be licensed, and that some past criminal offenses may create problems or preclude licensure -- but those decisions are the responsibility of the BON, not schools.

    Now, if schools started refusing to accept students because of their legal backgrounds, that's when you'd see the lawsuits! :chuckle
  14. by   rnmi2004
    Quote from elkpark
    I've been in nursing a long time now, and I've never heard of a school requiring fingerprints and doing criminal background checks. That would be considered an unnecessary invasion of the student's privacy because you don't have to pass any sort of criminal background check to go to school. When you enroll in a nursing program, the program is in no way guaranteeing that you will be licensed as a nurse -- just that they will provide the education required to make you eligible for licensure. Every program I've been aware of has made the students aware that they will have to pass background checks to be licensed, and that some past criminal offenses may create problems or preclude licensure -- but those decisions are the responsibility of the BON, not schools.

    Now, if schools started refusing to accept students because of their legal backgrounds, that's when you'd see the lawsuits! :chuckle
    My school would refuse to accept students based on criminal history. Facilities that receive monies from Medicare/Medicaid are not allowed to have staff or students provide care if they have certain types of criminal backgrounds. If you can't do the clinicals, why shouldn't the school refuse to accept you?

close