Petty Theft for Shoplifting

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I recently completed a bachelors degree in kinesiology. And, I am really wishing I had pursued nursing instead. Thankfully, there are still options open to me to pursue nursing.

    I am looking at an entry level master's of nursing, or an associate RN. I would prefer the masters degree. But, I have one major concern, as it is not a small financial or time commitment.

    I have a misdemeanor for petty theft for shoplifting from 2005, and a misdemeanor for issuing a bad check. The check was issued in 2004, it just bounced and instead of contacting me the company immediately sent it to the police. However, I wasn't convicted until 2009- because I was unaware of the charge, as it was in another state and I was never contacted.

    Anyway, I am very concerned that these things could prevent me from becoming a nurse. From what I have read it varies from state to state and from each BON. I would like to know what you think about my chances with being allowed by the BON, also to take the NCLEX, and perhaps even more importantly if I get through those hurdles.... will I have a hard time getting a job, will employers refuse to hire me?

    Do you have any advice? And, if you were in my position would you pursue this career path given all of the obstacles I could be presented with?
    I am also currently 38. By the time I graduated and was ready to be hired, I could be 41 or 42 (depending on when I begin school, and recieve my license). Could that also present an obstacle?

    Thank you in advance for any advice you can provide.

    Dear Is This an Obstacle?

    Let's start with your age. You are 38, so that is not an obstacle. It may be a bit harder landing a job at 41, but not much if you are determined and persistent. Read Age Discrimination in Nursing.

    The BON looks at every case individually as their job is to protect the public. I will tell you they look for rehabilitation and remorse, and your accounting of the bad check shows neither.

    There are three different times for concern:

    • Applying to nursing school. You must answer the application questions honestly.
    • Applying to the BON for authorization to test (ATT). This is typically only done at the completion of your program, and you must answer the application questions honestly. They will probably ask for an explanation. Here's a must read for you: Criminal Infraction: Writing a Letter of Explanation to the BON. Many applicants enlist an attorney to help them through the process.
    • Applying for employment. You must answer all application questions honestly, although they may inquire about felonies only.

    I can't stress how important rehabilitation and remorse are to the BON. Every one deserves a second chance, but they need to be assured that you took responsibility and you must show how you have changed your life so this would not happen again.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Mar 9