criminal background checks

  1. Hello,
    My name is Mary. Last year, I was accepted into a prestigious nursing program in my home state of NJ. After 1 week in the class, I was made aware that criminal background checks were being conducted. Unfortunately, due to past discretions in my late teens, I was unable to successfully pass a criminal background check. Due to this, I was asked to leave the program. My whole life, I have wanted nothing more than to be a nurse. Unfortunately, I was side-tracked for a few years and instead of focusing on my future, only worried about the present. Even though the mistakes I've made were years ago, I am still being treated as if I'm that same person. I realize that the Board of Nursing needs to protect the patients at the clinical rotation sites, and that crimianl background checks are necessary. However, I feel like all of my dreams have been shattered due to bad judgement I had when I was 19. I'm now 25 and so desperately want to become an RN. Does anyone have any advice for me? Even if the advice is to give up hope, I will gladly accept it. I am willing to fight to achieve my dream, but if there is no way that it will ever happen, I also want to know. Any advice or sugestions are greatly appreciated.
    Sincerely,
    M
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   DutchgirlRN
    Quote from mak1980
    Hello,
    Any advice or sugestions are greatly appreciated.
    Sincerely, M

    Mary I honestly don't know anything about this but I feel for you and can feel the sincerity in your words. I suppose consulting a lawyer would be in order? I think after a certain amount of time certain offenses can be removed from ones record. I wish you the best and keep us informed. God Bless.
  4. by   MiaNJ
    Sorry that you had to leave nursing school.
    Can I ask what school this was? I don't know if all schools do a criminal background check. I know UMDNJ does, but I don't think other schools like Seton Hall or William Paterson do this.
    Was it the LPN or BSN program?
    I understand that a criminal check is necessary, but I also don't think it's fair if it's for a non-violent crime or a mistake someone made when young.
    But I thought records for under 21 were not looked at. Or is that only for under 18, when records are erased?

    You can try looking into other schools.


    Quote from mak1980
    Hello,
    My name is Mary. Last year, I was accepted into a prestigious nursing program in my home state of NJ. After 1 week in the class, I was made aware that criminal background checks were being conducted. Unfortunately, due to past discretions in my late teens, I was unable to successfully pass a criminal background check. Due to this, I was asked to leave the program. My whole life, I have wanted nothing more than to be a nurse. Unfortunately, I was side-tracked for a few years and instead of focusing on my future, only worried about the present. Even though the mistakes I've made were years ago, I am still being treated as if I'm that same person. I realize that the Board of Nursing needs to protect the patients at the clinical rotation sites, and that crimianl background checks are necessary. However, I feel like all of my dreams have been shattered due to bad judgement I had when I was 19. I'm now 25 and so desperately want to become an RN. Does anyone have any advice for me? Even if the advice is to give up hope, I will gladly accept it. I am willing to fight to achieve my dream, but if there is no way that it will ever happen, I also want to know. Any advice or sugestions are greatly appreciated.
    Sincerely,
    M
  5. by   sirI
    Quote from mak1980
    Hello,
    My name is Mary. Last year, I was accepted into a prestigious nursing program in my home state of NJ. After 1 week in the class, I was made aware that criminal background checks were being conducted. Unfortunately, due to past discretions in my late teens, I was unable to successfully pass a criminal background check. Due to this, I was asked to leave the program. My whole life, I have wanted nothing more than to be a nurse. Unfortunately, I was side-tracked for a few years and instead of focusing on my future, only worried about the present. Even though the mistakes I've made were years ago, I am still being treated as if I'm that same person. I realize that the Board of Nursing needs to protect the patients at the clinical rotation sites, and that crimianl background checks are necessary. However, I feel like all of my dreams have been shattered due to bad judgement I had when I was 19. I'm now 25 and so desperately want to become an RN. Does anyone have any advice for me? Even if the advice is to give up hope, I will gladly accept it. I am willing to fight to achieve my dream, but if there is no way that it will ever happen, I also want to know. Any advice or sugestions are greatly appreciated.
    Sincerely,
    M
    I am very sorry about this situation, mak.

    You did not know upon applying to the school that you would need to reveal any and all prior/current offenses?

    Maybe you can approach them about this issue for the future. If you can tell them your side, maybe you can get back into the program.

    Now, with that said, you will need to reveal this to your state BON as well. They will collectively decide to license you or not. This is something that you must reveal, even if it is a very old offense.

    Again, I am so sorry this has happened to you.

    Good luck.
  6. by   sirI
    Quote from MiaNJ
    Sorry that you had to leave nursing school.
    Can I ask what school this was? I don't know if all schools do a criminal background check. I know UMDNJ does, but I don't think other schools like Seton Hall or William Paterson do this.
    Was it the LPN or BSN program?
    I understand that a criminal check is necessary, but I also don't think it's fair if it's for a non-violent crime or a mistake someone made when young.
    But I thought records for under 21 were not looked at. Or is that only for under 18, when records are erased?

    You can try looking into other schools.
    Hello, MiaNJ,

    Most nursing programs do a background check or have the individual declare previous offenses. And, state BON will have this on their applications. If an individual fails to declare, the BON automatically rejects licensure.

    All offenses, no matter how "small" must be declared.
  7. by   MiaNJ
    Thanks for the info.
    But does a background check include moving vechicle offenses like speeding, etc?
    Sure hope not!



    Quote from siri
    Hello, MiaNJ,

    Most nursing programs do a background check or have the individual declare previous offenses. And, state BON will have this on their applications. If an individual fails to declare, the BON automatically rejects licensure.

    All offenses, no matter how "small" must be declared.
  8. by   sirI
    Quote from MiaNJ
    Thanks for the info.
    But does a background check include moving vechicle offenses like speeding, etc?
    Sure hope not!
    No, MiaNJ, not unless you were arrested and charged with another offense with speeding (felony/misdemeanor).

    Heck, if we have to declare speeding tickets, there would be zero nurses in the profession.
  9. by   llg
    Your best bet Mak1980, is to be totally open with any school you apply to in the future ... any future employers ... and with the Board of Nursing. I recommend making yourself a portfolio containing all the documentation about your situation (original court documents, etc.) and offering to provide copies to anyone who wishes to see them. You should probably also prepare (or be prepared to write) a statement describing the situation, it's resolution, and your feelings about it now.

    Generally speaking, anyone who fails to disclose everything is automatically rejected/terminated from a program or job ... on the basis that they were hiding something and might be hiding other things as well. So, as you look at other programs -- or meet with your previous school and ask for a 2nd chance -- offer them copies of everything. Tell them how sorry you are for your past actions, what lessons you have learned, how you will prevent that sort of thing from happening again, etc.

    If your crime was a violent crime and/or involved the abuse of someone under your care, it might be impossible to get nursing license. However, if it was not that type crime (such as shoplifting), people are sometimes allowed to practice nursing in spite of having a criminal record. If it was drug-related, the state may require you to undergo some sort of supervised testing, regular monitoring, etc. It all depends on the type of crime.

    It may not seem fair ... and you may feel like a different person than you were back then ... but people who are entrusting themselves and their loved ones to your care have a right to know that their nurses are totally trustworthy. And once you have shown yourself to be not totally trustworthy by committing a crime, it takes special effort on your part to earn back that trust.

    Good luck,
    llg
  10. by   Kasper1014
    I understand what you are going through. One of my friends in nursing school, we graduated last Dec 2004. She had to apply for a declatory order for her past offense. I actually had to reread your post as your post sounded soooo much like my friends. She commited her crime when she was 19. Now she is 25.

    All I can suggest is to go to the school in person and tell your side of the story. They may readmit you at a later date or try for another nursing school. I know of several people who applied for declatory orders. Some for drug offenses and one was exposing himself....don;t ask on THAT one! But each time the board has heard their story and made a decision based on that person.

    Kassy : )



    Quote from MiaNJ
    Sorry that you had to leave nursing school.
    Can I ask what school this was? I don't know if all schools do a criminal background check. I know UMDNJ does, but I don't think other schools like Seton Hall or William Paterson do this.
    Was it the LPN or BSN program?
    I understand that a criminal check is necessary, but I also don't think it's fair if it's for a non-violent crime or a mistake someone made when young.
    But I thought records for under 21 were not looked at. Or is that only for under 18, when records are erased?

    You can try looking into other schools.
  11. by   rgrgray
    Quote from Kasper1014
    I understand what you are going through. One of my friends in nursing school, we graduated last Dec 2004. She had to apply for a declatory order for her past offense. I actually had to reread your post as your post sounded soooo much like my friends. She commited her crime when she was 19. Now she is 25.

    All I can suggest is to go to the school in person and tell your side of the story. They may readmit you at a later date or try for another nursing school. I know of several people who applied for declatory orders. Some for drug offenses and one was exposing himself....don;t ask on THAT one! But each time the board has heard their story and made a decision based on that person.

    Kassy : )
    it is funny the things nursing schools forget to tell us when we are applying> the only thing i can tell you is go to your state bon and apply for a declatory order this may take up to 6 mnths so start working on it now! if it was something you did when you were 19 most likely it will be over looked unless it is a crime do to violence, depends on the circumstances. once you have your declatory order the school will let you in. they have been running into problems with people finishing school and not being able to get their license.
  12. by   mortiz328
    Before I sent my application to nursing school..I spoke to a counselor on the phone forever and she mentioned the criminal background check in 15 minutes after discussing the program. She said that I should add $15.00 onto my application fee for this or else it would delay the entire process. Sorry you had to go through something like this. However, I totally understand the the reasoning.


    Quote from rgrgray
    it is funny the things nursing schools forget to tell us when we are applying> the only thing i can tell you is go to your state bon and apply for a declatory order this may take up to 6 mnths so start working on it now! if it was something you did when you were 19 most likely it will be over looked unless it is a crime do to violence, depends on the circumstances. once you have your declatory order the school will let you in. they have been running into problems with people finishing school and not being able to get their license.
  13. by   llg
    It's not only the BON and the school who may require a criminal background check -- but it is also all of the hospitals at which you may do clinicals as a student. Be prepared for that possibility.

    I work for a children's hospital that requires background checks on all students. A student might be accepted by the school and by the BON, but not be allowed to complete their clinical rotation at my hospital. Fortunately, the hospital reviews each case individually -- but the students with criminal records need to submit them in advance and be prepared to either write or be interviewed about that record.

    llg
  14. by   mortiz328
    I agree with the last reply.

    I even had to do a criminal background check just to VOLUNTEER at a hospital and other healthcare environments. So just prepare yourself. Things will get better for you. I am not sure if this was a very serious crime or not, but be as honest as you can with everyone....because the more honest and open that you are the better your chances are. If you were to apply at other schools, just ask them from the beginning..would your past pose a problem from getting accepted into the program....and after that..if you have an interview somewhere. Mention to the employer right away (which I am sure it will be indicated on a application form) that you want to be honest and know if your past will be an issue in receiving a position. Believe me, that would really, really help! Believe me....Let them know that you have changed your ways and learned from your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. I have even done so myself. I wish you the best of luck!


    Quote from llg
    It's not only the BON and the school who may require a criminal background check -- but it is also all of the hospitals at which you may do clinicals as a student. Be prepared for that possibility.

    I work for a children's hospital that requires background checks on all students. A student might be accepted by the school and by the BON, but not be allowed to complete their clinical rotation at my hospital. Fortunately, the hospital reviews each case individually -- but the students with criminal records need to submit them in advance and be prepared to either write or be interviewed about that record.

    llg

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