Criminal Infraction? Writing a Letter of Explanation to the BON

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    Ashley is sick with worry. She has made it through nursing school and applied to the BON for testing privileges. Her application was denied because she was convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) years ago. The BON is requiring a Letter of Explanation. She's at a loss on how to compose the letter, and everything is at stake for her.

    Criminal Infraction? Writing a Letter of Explanation to the BON

    A criminal history does not mean that you cannot become a nurse, but it may mean extra work and extra expenses. If you have a previous offense, maybe you, like Ashley, must now write a letter of explanation regarding your offense or DUI to the BON.

    Your Letter of Explanation is highly important. It determines your future. You will be judged as to your level of remorse, insight, and personal responsibility for the incident.

    It must be genuine, concise and honest.

    Factual

    Start with the incident. State what happened simply, factually and chronologically. Do not offer excuses or cast blame, but do include underlying circumstances.

    It's in your favor to describe the conditions in your life that affected your decisions and behavior at the time. Most bad choices don't come out of nowhere, and the people who will be reading your letter understand that. It's important to convey that you are not making excuses for your behavior. You are simply describing the circumstances that contributed to your choices.

    Personal Insight

    Perhaps the most important and the key to success is showing insight into your own behavior. Everyone makes mistakes...but have you learned from your mistakes?

    Tell the BON exactly what you've learned about yourself, and how your values have changed. Maybe you were impulsive and immature at the time, but now you value long-term gratification over instant gratification.

    Rehabilitative lifestyle changes

    Show the BON without a doubt that you have taken responsibility. What have you changed in your life to ensure that this behavior would not happen in the future?

    List everything you've done to prevent future occurrences. Did you receive counseling, attend a recovery program, do community work? Include compliance with terms of probation, restitution, or parole.

    You may live in a different location with positive influences now, or maybe you've joined or even lead support groups. Show that you are not the same person who committed the offense. You have different friends and you make good choices.

    Show remorse

    You are genuinely sorry for what you did. You now understand that you could have harmed yourself, or other people.

    You can't change the past, but you can control your future behavior. You have grown from this and regret the choices you made in the past.

    You are remorseful.

    Enlist help

    It's best to get help from someone to write this, unless you are very confident in your writing skills. At the very least, have your letter proofed for grammar and spelling by 3 separate individuals who will be honest with you.

    Some applicants find it helpful to retain a lawyer during the process, to ensure that the licensing process goes smoothly. This can be expensive, and not all attorneys accept payments over time. Start saving for legal expenses in advance if you anticipate a problem,.

    Letters of Reference

    Letters of reference should be on official letterhead from employers, nursing instructors, health professionals, professional counselors, parole or probation officers, or other individuals in positions of authority who are knowledgeable about your rehabilitation efforts.

    They must be signed and dated within the past year.

    What to expect

    You may face probation, a conditional license with probation terms, a fine, or citation. If your DUI was a fairly low BAC, you may only face a letter of reprimand or a citation and fine.
    Do not ignore any mail from the BON or Attorney General's office. Make sure your current address is on file at all times.
    Your failure to respond to the Statement of Issues will result in the denial of your license application by a default process.


    Cases are decided on an individual basis, and may take some time. Be patient and persevere.

    Best wishes.

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    26 Comments

  3. by   Biosphere
    I Totally agree and the truth is the only way to handle it.
  4. by   Conqueror+
    I am trying to recall another article that had an accompanying picture. I can only think of 1 or 2. I find it interesting that you attached one to this article and that you chose this particular face for this topic. I am not easily offended but ...
  5. by   tnbutterfly
    Quote from Conqueror+
    I am trying to recall another article that had an accompanying picture. I can only think of 1 or 2. I find it interesting that you attached one to this article and that you chose this particular face for this topic. I am not easily offended but ...
    All "articles" which are listed on the Home Page have pictures. There are hundreds of articles written by lots of different writers.
  6. by   Conqueror+
    Quote from tnbutterfly
    All "articles" which are listed on the Home Page have pictures. There are hundreds of articles written by lots of different writers.
    I should have been more clear. I was referring to articles by nurse Beth and I stand by my original post. Thank you.
  7. by   Nurse Beth
    Quote from Conqueror+
    I should have been more clear. I was referring to articles by nurse Beth and I stand by my original post. Thank you.
    Hi there. Thanks for your feedback.

    As a writer, I:

    1. Provide content for articles and
    2. Provide answers to questions submitted in the Ask Nurse Beth column

    If it's an article , images are always attached.

    If it's an Ask Nurse Beth Question (you can tell because the answer is preceded by a letter from a reader), then images are rarely (almost never) attached.

    You are referring to an article, where images are always attached. So there is nothing singular about this article having an image.

    Also, while I submit content for both, I am not involved in selecting images. I'm sure allnurses makes every effort to pick images that capture the emotion, or tone of the article.

    Sometimes, I've been known to take offense when none is intended, or take something personally that was not at all personal. Usually when I get all the facts, I have a better understanding. I hope this helps.

    Best wishes
    Last edit by Nurse Beth on Aug 25, '15
  8. by   tnbutterfly
    Beth has provided an excellent explanation.

    If you look at images in other articles on the home page, we use images of both genders, various races, many nationalities and ages as this is a site for all. We do not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

    For those of you who are questioning the choice of picture posted with this article, there were no voiced complaints about the picture selected for this article posted in June titled "Juvenile Arrest: Did I ruin my chance to be a nurse?"


    If anyone is offended by a post, image, etc on the site, please either report the thread using the report icon (yellow triangle) at the bottom of each post, or start a thread in the Admin Office where you can communicate privately with the site Admins.

    In the meantime, please give the OP the respect she deserves. Please stay on topic.
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Aug 30, '15
  9. by   Donna Maheady
    Great advice Beth! I will be sharing widely!
  10. by   Nurse Beth
    Quote from Donna Maheady
    Great advice Beth! I will be sharing widely!
    Thanks, Donna. Everyone deserves a second chance
  11. by   Nurse2B_88
    Thank you Nurse Beth, this was very informative. Will be sharing!
  12. by   buzzy
    Beth,
    A friend of mine was in a similar situation prior to sitting for her boards. She was not aware of the criteria explanation of arrests record prior to taking the boards. After graduation she had to contact an attorney and obtain an a letter from a judge regarding her civil disobedience. She also had to write a letter to the board. She has obtained her license. At this point you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Contact a lawyer; he can give you the best advice at this point. If you can not afford one at this time, you might be able to make some payment arrangement. People like to see people improve their lives. God bless you and I know you can get past this obstacle.
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Aug 31, '15 : Reason: typo
  13. by   Nurse Beth
    Quote from buzzy
    Beth,
    A friend of mine was in a similar situation prior to sitting for her boards. She was not aware of the criteria explanation of arrests record prior to taking the boards. God bless you and I know you can get past this obstacle.
    I know, for example, a lot of people think that "expunged" means they do not have to report it to the BON when applying for licensure. But you have to report everything.
  14. by   Jeanne K
    Every case is different. But in California expect at least a year before being able to take the NCLEX and three years probation. And have some $$ because it is not cheap.

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