TO ALL GRADUATING RN STUDENTS IN CA: BEWARE..(please read my advice and rant)

  1. To all CA RN students who plan to graduate a couple months from now--please take the time to read my post in it's entirety, as I guarantee it will benefit you. FIRST and foremost, if you have a 'checkered past' of any kind (criminal history/run-ins with the law), prepare for what may be the worst upcoming year (or two) of your entire lives. For those of you who have been fortunate enough to maintain a squeaky clean record up to this point in your life-good for you, you will be fine. For the rest of you who have anything worse than a minor traffic ticket on your running 'rap sheet', do yourselves a HUGE favor and obtain for yourselves your own copy of the DOJ/FBI rap sheet report that the CA BRN will be obtaining in the upcoming months separately to review your eligibility for licensure. This is a well-spent $60 because you will then know exactly what YOU need to fully disclose in (unnecessarily excessive) detail. This is a good spot for me to begin my story.

    During the transition period from 2008-2009, I was mortified when I lost my beloved Heavy Equipment Operating position that I'd already planned to retire from down the road. (Aside from my death, an economic crisis such as the one in 2008 is THE ONLY thing that will cause me to lose any job I ever have as long as I'm alive because of my old-school work ethic. I don't lose jobs, I don't get fired from jobs.. Ever..) So after a couple months of dead-end job searching, I decided to move out of my home state of AZ to NORCAL where I would start college once again at age 33. I was determined to become a nurse, so I began school in 2010 at Shasta College for 3 years which consisted of the completion of my general ed., as well as the completion of my RN school pre-reqs. Long story short, I was then accepted to a bay area school so moved here with my wife and 3 kids in 2013, started the ADN program, handled it like a boss and graduated in the top 8 out of a remaining 38 students. SO---on to my mistake... When completing my application for licensure right around graduation time, I had 2 considerable (NO FELONIES though) blemishes on my record that I was CERTAIN would show up on this Thorough background check the BRN preaches excessively about in their website. These were a DUI (the most minor DUI possible) from 2009, AND an old arrest that happened 15 years ago that involved myself and two passengers who happened to have crystal meth on them, as well as a couple of needles and a spoon. Somehow, the drugs got thrown under the seat of MY car and were not claimed, so became my property by default per AZ law. I then had to complete a diversion program to avoid a felony-which I did, resulting in no conviction of any kind on that day. So the biggest black-eye that my criminal record consisted of was the misdemeanor DUI. I was indecisive for quite some time about whether or not I even needed to disclose the arrest with the meth 15 years ago--especially since that police report was awful... It made me sound like a no-good scumbag! Anyone who reads that police report will pass judgement on me-I am certain. I made the morally correct decision to disclose the meth incident, mainly to fulfill the guidelines set forth by the BRN for application, as well as the fact that I am not a deceitful person. I felt it was the right thing to disclose the dreaded meth incident, despite how horrible it made me look. Well, guess what..? When I got my notice of denial of licensure (5 months later btw!!) in the mail, there was a copy of the rap sheet information obtained by the BRN and wouldn't you know.... The crazy 2002 meth incident was NOT ON THE PAPER... I was sick for a few days after that, because I screwed myself -- I didn't have to disclose the meth thing--they would have never known. So what do I get for being thorough, respectable and honest on my application you might ask? How about 3 years of probation (in its entirety) WITHOUT a rule-out substance abuse appointment!!!<--Why can't I get the BRN to allow me a rule-out substance abuse appointment (which would save me from having to do a POINTLESS 6-month mandatory outpatient rehab costing me possibly ten-thousand dollars out of pocket)?? It is simple... They read the police report from 2002, read the word "needle", and "meth" and decided they KNOW that's what I need.. Can you believe it? These clowns have never even met me!! It has been 14 years since I have used meth, and certainly am not in need of any rehab. But what do I know?? Or better yet, what would the specialist know that conducts the rule-out assessments (if I were allowed one)?? Whoever calls the shots over there has made an extremely large error in making these ballsy decisions based on pure assumption of me and my situation--it should be grounds for termination... It is astonishing how poorly the CA BRN does business and gets away with it. Trust me soon-to-be grads, your best interest is not in the equation used by the BRN.. It has been almost 2 years I've waited since graduation-- still needing to take the NCLEX, pass it, and THEN begin ordered probation... Yeah, I'm thinking 2 more years before I will be working as an RN. The CA BRN is a bureaucratic nightmare--the only reason I haven't told these guys where to stick it is because I owe 30 grand in school loans.. Anyway, best of luck to you all, and hopefully none of you get blindly labeled a criminal who's in need of rehab for something in your past like me lol.
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    Even "the most minor DUI possible" will commonly get one put on probation (and all the substance monitoring that goes along with it) with the California BON. Lying by omission might not have done much for you.
    These are serious issues in the nursing world, and CA is known to be one of the toughest BONs.

    You may find this section of the site interesting or helpful:
    http://allnurses.com/nursing-licensure-criminal/

    Good luck to you. It won't be easy or fast, but it seems like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
  4. by   WookieeRN
    The CABON specifically stated the probation was for the event in 2002, not the DUI in 2009? Usually DUIs also buy you probation...

    Also, there is a very important reason why the Boards of Nursing are tough on nurses. They are protecting the public. That is why they treat every application such as yours the same because they don't know you from the next applicant. Everyone says "that's not be anymore." They don't see it that way. They have enough proof to show as one point you were not responsible, which is all they need.
  5. by   not.done.yet
    Congratulations on finishing school AND on getting out of the grips of something as serious as using meth. I realize you are frustrated and feel a little bit blindsided, but to be honest, as a practicing nurse, I am glad they are thorough and err on the side of being tough. Unfortunately people like you, who have cleaned up their lives, get caught in the crossfire. However, it protects the patients from those who say they have but actually have not and from those who are susceptible to temptation and addiction, which is both rampant in nursing and extremely detrimental to patients and public trust. Try to frame this within the context of the nobility of the profession you are joining, not as unfairness.
    Last edit by not.done.yet on Apr 13 : Reason: grammar error

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