Any nurses out there hired by a hospital after a minor felony on their record? - page 3

Does anyone know FIRST hand whether or not a hospital will actually consider a candidate with a felony on their record? More than 14 years ago when I was only a teenager, I was charged as an... Read More

  1. by   jveamiller
    where did you attend school,
  2. by   RN-NewGrad
    I went to a community college. I actually did not tell them of my felony because at the time I believed it was off my record. It never came up so I do not know if they actually followed through with the background check or even got the results. Maybe they didn't care, I do not know.

    As for how I got hired:
    I put on my applications a brief and non descriptive statement about my felony. I did not go into details because I did not want them picturing me as a criminal. I simply stated that yes I have a conviction that happened many years ago when I was young and that it was not related to drugs or violence and not work related. I stated that I have no other convictions since. I also reminded them in my statement that the state knows of the conviction and issued me a license to practice. I said that it was a learning experience. Again I did not go into details of the actual crime.

    Then I was persistent with calling HR and asking for an interview. I never brought up my conviction when speaking to HR or during interviews. Maybe my applications were passed over because of the conviction but because I actually called and asked for an interview (meaning they didn't necessarily have my application in front of them at the time) I got a chance. I also said to Hr when asking for the interview that I had other job offers but was much more interested in this position before accepting another offer. This worked for me. I think it showed that I someone who is hirable and that other facilities wanted and that I wanted the interview because of a good match and not out of desperation.

    Then, I really did my best at the interview. I prepared a portfolio with a personalized cover letter, I made sure I was early, dressed professionally, came prepared with questions of my own about the department, and answers to common questions that really showed my best qualities. I also showed a lot of enthusiasm/passion for the area of nursing I was applying to. Of course I remembered my manners and I also complimented the interviewer on some work related issue she was telling me about. Then at the end of the interview, I asked when they would have a decision (they said within a week because they had another interview scheduled) so then I said that I actually had another job offer but that this was the position I really wanted. It must have worked, because within a half hour of leaving the interview, HR called me to say, I was hired because they didn't want to lose me. Don't be afraid to be assertive. That is what they are looking for.

    So my advice to everyone is to not focus on the felony or discuss it unless asked, but be honest without telling too much in the application. Be assertive by actually asking for an interview and telling the interviewer that you are very interested in the position and say something positive about the hospital, unit, and/or interviewer (do some research first). Show enthusiasm and passion for nursing, the department, the hospital. You want to stand out as someone who is in it for more than the money and that you have a great attitude and will stay with the company. That's my advice. It is what worked for me.

    Maybe the lack of interviews isn't the felony, but rather this terrible job market. Stay positive! And best of luck to you all.
    Advice for nurse felons:

    Check the magic questions honestly. If they require a separate explanation, hold on to it so you can show your face.

    Explain the briefest of facts focusing MORE on what you've done about it. Don't minimalize it.

    For example:

    "Have you had any felonies, if so explain" answer: convicted and plead guilty of diversion, went to treatment and sobriety and my career are the two most important things in my life...blah blahblah.

    If they act unsure, send a contract offering to drug test at any time without question or hesitation at your own cost. Write it all up nice and smooth and say you're offering this so they can focus on what you plan to do for them, not your past (that you learn from it and use it to your advantage motivating you more than a typical counterpart, but that you don't focus on it). Let them know also it's important they feel comfortable with your past so you can feel comfortable and supported excelling at their company. You DON'T want an employer who's not comfy with your past. Also let them know you'll speak candidly about the event and what you've done about it to any supervisor any time but for regular work (patients and coworkers) you'd prefer to keep it confidential.

    You don't have to write a book; these are some of the most common responses I've seen with other nurses with felonies (diversion being the most common) that have been successful converting job seekers to hired felons!

    You can work for the government with a felony. Put at least 5 years between you and it. I doubt you can get a waiver for the military though since it makes you more eligible to blackmail and corruption (says they).

    Given the fact nearly all lives are affected by addiction/alcoholism, many recruiters will be happy to see "one" who has turned their lives around.

    If it's a gun felony or something...tell em you enjoyed shooting and taking care of their wounds afterwards so you decided to be a nurse!
  4. by   ConnorsMama
    Reading your posts is giving me hope! I too have a criminal history. I was arrested once when I was 19 for shoplifting. Stupid, stupid mistake. Then again in 2006 for battery and drug possession. BOTH of the charges were dropped, however...they never made it to court. Basically I was dating "one of those guys" that seem wonderful in the beginning, then when you move in together you find out the "real" them. Abusive, controlling, etc. I am going to hate explaining these charges, because they all stem from him, and it makes me look like I have horrible judgement.

    Anyway...I am currently finishing my last prereq for nursing, Microbiology. I am applying to the RN program for January, but I am TERRIFIED I will finish the next two years of school and not be able to sit for my boards OR get a job.

    I'm also applying to the Respiratory Therapy program and Cardiovascular Therapy. My dream is to be a nurse practitioner though, and I am just so worried that my poor judgement in the past will come back to haunt me. I know I would make a good nurse. THis just makes me want to cry.

    Reading your stories though, it sounds like the board and some employers look at you like a human being who makes mistakes. Thanks for the beacon of hope, guys.
    If you didn't go to court, you're not convicted and they more than likely dropped the charges. Take it upon yourself to get a complete background check (go to your local cops and robbers office and submit a request). Some take a number of months but at leas you'll have in your paws what they see. In your case I suspect charges were dropped since you never went to court therefore you can say NO.

    Call the police in that jurisdiction and they'd be happy to help you. It's a common question.

    In closing, "Everyone likes a bad boy until they have to call the cops." Nice guys finish last.
  6. by   ConnorsMama's all fun and games until the cops get involved. (well not really though! lol)

    The charges were definitely dropped. Thank you for your input! I just hate having to explain the situation. If I only knew then, right?
  7. by   Joshmiles
    This posting has given me some hope, I'm 19 years old and I got caught shop lifting a year ago iv wanted to be a nurse for 3 years now and I mess it all up in one stupid act. I'm terrified I wont even be able to get in to a CNA program let alone an RN program. I know in my heart a lot has changed with me, when the theft happened I had just moved out and it ruined a lot of things for me. I lost my job I had court fines and finding a job to pay rent as an 18 year old with a record is not an easy task. I regret it every day still after having found two jobs and getting my life back in order a year later. I started doing research on nursing and i found out that theft can disqualify me from even taking the classes that I need to start on the path to be a nurse. I regret my decision but I know that all the hardship I suffered though helped me grow up a lot. Until I saw this posting I had been freaking out the past few days frantically looking for advice on how to handle it all, so thank you...
    call the BON and ask for an exception if they state theft is on the nono list. Most states it's no big deal.
  9. by   NRSKarenRN
    Quote from castlegates
    call the bon and ask for an exception if they state theft is on the nono list. most states it's no big deal.
    rules and reg do vary by state. there are federal medicare regs for cna 's that are stricter than nurses due to protection for elderly. many states make no determination until graduation and application made for certification or licensure....colorado is one such state: colorado: cna program background check in pa it is a big deal: theft conviction prevents one from getting cna certificate.
  10. by   jkayvonfar
    I am coming into this topic late, and have found it very helpful. My question is when do you tell them about the felony if you are submitting a resume in response to an ad on something like My Felony was less than 4 years ago. I served 30 months on a 4 year sentence and will complete my parole January 2010. My conviction was for possesion of a controlled substance. I realize that I have an uphill battle from this point. I have to address the BON regarding my liscense also. I have read many of the posts about those issues already.

    Regardless of Licensing issues, I still have alot to offer from my many years of experience. Granted that I got stupid about 5 years ago, but I have regained my senses and am now trying to put my life back together. Any real life stories will help!
  11. by   KayteRN
    I have a minor retail theft charge on my record, as well as a DUI and possession of marijuana/paraphernalia (the theft is the most recent) and JUST got my RN. So it's possible. I did have to send in the police records to the board of licensing however. I also was told to write a statement regarding the charges, and circumstances, etc. NOW my uphill battle is getting someone to hire me. As I have made countless stupid mistakes in my life, but after graduating and getting my license, I realize how it's all come full circle, and I feel like I have ruined my life. It's the worst feeling I've ever had. It haunts me every single day.
  12. by   wandakeeton
    RN-new grad,

    It is very difficult sorry to say once you have a felony. I am in a similar situation except I have been a nurse for over 30 years. I worked for an office for 25 years and was wrongly accused of a felony. My attorney talked me into pleading quilty as the jury would beliveve the "more prominent citizen of the community". I had no proof and it was my word against the other persons.
    I completed all my probation with the state and the state board of nursing. I agree with you, I have paid for what I did wrong (even though I didn't do it) but I am still guilty in everyone's eyes and no one wants to give me a second chance. I will be able to have the felony expunged but I now have to deal with the permanent restrictions from the state board . I love nursing and don't want to give it up but at this point it looks like I may have to. I haven't given up but some days I wonder what I will do next. You are lucky in one way is that you do not have restrictions to your license. I would definitely check on getting it expunged then you can legally answer no to the felony question. I have a question for readers. do you know if there are any support groups or assistance for job referrals for nurses with a felony in their past?
  13. by   KayteRN
    Wandakeeton, I'm not sure if you're talking to me or not? I'm not a felon though. Nothing on my record is a felony (in the state I live in anyways). So none is classified as a felony. I have a misdemenor for the dui, and the rest are just municipal violations. Not even considered "crimes" by law. But on apps, I answer yes to "have you been convicted of anything other than traffic violations". But they are considered "non-criminal" charges.
    Either way, it is still a struggle. But my license has no restrictions or anything. We'll see. I have heard of others on here getting jobs in similar situations, so I hope for the best I guess. But I realize that I am fighting an uphill battle.