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

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    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 accomplice in a theft. I DID NOT do the crime and I actually was the one that reported it. But maybe cause I knew so much about it or the state's attorney had a quota to meet, who knows, I was also charged. At the time, I was a young, scared kid who had no understanding of what my rights were or how a conviction would effect me. I didn't have a lawyer (just the PD). So, when they offered me a deal that if I plead guilty they would let me go, I took it. I think they even told me the conviction would come off my record. Anyways, it has never effected me getting a job before. I worked mostly in daycares.

    Now I am a new grad nurse with a license and even though I know it is tough for all new grad to find jobs right now. I need to know if I even have a chance. The state gave me a license so they don't see my conviction as a threat to patients. Will the hospitals or other facilities? I know hospitals do background checks so am I wasting my time applying? They say they don't automatically disqualify you if you have a conviction but one hospital I know won't even take an ex con as a volunteer. I am so worried that I went through all this schooling, time, and money to be a nurse, and now I can't. It's hard to know if I don't get responses from the employers because of lack of experience or if it is my background.

    If there is anyone out there who was hired AFTER a felony conviction and the hospital knew about it, please tell me. Please only responses intended to help. I don't need anyone judging me. I am an honest, law abiding citizen who has never hurt anyone in her life. Nursing is my passion, I am not going to switch careers or give up. I am hoping to hear from someone who knows first hand whether a hospital will consider me or not. Thanks in advance!

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  2. 67 Comments...

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    I would pay to get a background check yourself. You can do so at Verified. It is about $40. Then see what they see. Also, if its committed before 18, it should no longer be on your record - so then the hospital would not know. Good Luck
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    Thanks for your reply. I already know it's on my record as a felony theft because the background check done prior to my licensing. I have also looked into seeing if it can be expunged, it can't. It was committed before 18 technically but I was charged as an adult. So there is not anything I can do to change the record. I have my license so that is not a problem.

    The problem comes in when I have to check "yes" on the job applications. Will the HR department just set aside my app. as soon as they see that I have a felony or will they actually take the second to consider me and the circumstances (length of time, non violent, non drug related etc). Am I wasting my time applying to these hospitals? Are there places that hire nurses with felonies? It's hard enough finding a job without experience as a new grad but then add this to it. I am not giving up but I am hoping to hear from someone who's been there in my shoes and got the job. Or from an HR person that can tell me what they do when they see the yes box checked about felonies on someone's application.

    I have applied to every job out there. I am so upset by this because before I started nursing school, I thought this was off my record, it wasn't until I applied for my license and an RN job that I found out this was on my record. I was actually offered the job and then they fired me once the background check came back. They said I was fired for checking "no" on the app. but I am wondering if they would have even given me the chance if they had known about this prior to hiring me.

    If anyone knows someone in HR, please PM or reply. THANKS
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    Although I don't have a felony, I do have a record. I'm not a nurse yet, I just completed CNA course and all I had to do was present a waiver. My wife did the same thing when during nursing school as well. I know nurses now that prior to their acceptance to nursing school, were busted for prostitution and they were fine.
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    Im in a similar situation as you. Did you have any problems when it came to registering for the NCLEX and getting your license? Did you get an attorney to help with the process?
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    I talked with my wife again to see how this all worked out for her which she has a felony. So, she said first you must have a waiver from Illinois Department of Public Health. Then, you must not have had any other criminal history after you recieve the waiver. You must complete all probation, fines. then, when it comes to nursing applications you must be honest to every question. Some of her friends had to have an interview in Chicago to explain there background to issue there license but was approved. They really look at how long ago the felony was and what trouble you have been in since that conviction. So, bottom line: Stay out of trouble, be honest to every question.
    whatitdo1983 likes this.
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    i'm also a new grad in your position, except mine is not a felony. i'm having trouble as it is getting a job and my only hope now is home health. I also have to check "yes" everytime they ask about criminal backgrounds. So far, i got a call back from one agency that was offering me a position once i pass the nclex. As of right now, i'm still waiting on the guy to run my criminal background check and verify my licensure. I'll keep you updated on what's going to happen.
    whatitdo1983 likes this.
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    Thanks for all the replies.

    TO REMILEKUN: I read the actual law that requires facilities to not employ healthcare workers without a waiver however this law states it does not apply to licensed professionals such as an RN since the state is in a way providing a waiver when they give the license. Therefore, I would not require a waiver. Even with a waiver, the problem I think really would be getting the employer to give you a chance after reading on your application that you have a felony. They are not obligated under this law to hire you just because you have a waiver. It just gives them permission to if they want to. It's good to know it worked out for you and your wife Good luck in school!

    TO BCCSTUDENT: I did not have any trouble getting my license. I did not inform my school or the state prior to NCLEX of the felony because I did not know it was still on my record until after I took the NCLEX and the state sent me a letter stating I had this on my record and they could not decide whether to license me until they had certified copies of the court documents from the case and a statement from me describing the events surrounding the case. Once I sent that stuff in, it was only about a week before I had my license. It was that easy. Of course I was nervous and stressed out waiting and I even called them to ask if I had any chance. They told me it is decided on an individual basis. My case was 14 years ago and was not related to patient care or violence and I have had no convictions since so I am sure that helped. So to answer your question, I did not need an attorney but I would go ASAP to the circuit clerk of the county where your charges were from and get certified copies of the court dispositions. If you aren't sure of all the convictions, you may want to run a background check yourself first or just wait until the licensing board asks you for it all because they will tell you the results of their background check. Try not to stress like I did, you are likely to get your license if the crime was years ago and if not, you can always try again. If they are not felonies, you can go to the circuit clerk and ask how to expunge/seal the records which will help in getting a job because then you can legally check "no" on the job applications. GOOD LUCK!

    TO HOUSTONTXRN: Since your conviction is not a felony, I am almost positive you can have your record expunged/sealed. You can go to the circuit clerks office or read about it online to see if you qualify and how to go about it. It can be done without a lawyer if you want but there is a filing fee (well worth it). If the courts give you the expungement then you can legally check "NO" on your job application and it won't show up when they do the background check

    GREAT NEWS!!!! I just got a call for a job interview (and yes I did check "yes" on the application). I will let you all know how it goes. And in the meantime, I would still love to hear from anyone else who has been in the same situation. I would really like to know of hospitals that do give RNs or other healthcare workers with felonies a chance.
    snSally and ChicagoinFlorida like this.
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    There is no such thing as a 'minor' felony. If this happened 14 yrs. ago when you were a teenager, I would definitely look into having the charge expunged from your record. If you have had no other criminal problems since then, this may very well be a good option for you. Call a criminal defense lawyer, the first appointment is free. Absent that, be honest and upfront when you interview. Explain that you were young and exhibited poor judgement, but stress that it was a one time thing, and that you have stayed out of trouble since. You had to have disclosed this to your nursing program's director and to the state board of nursing already, or you wouldn't have been able to sit for the board exam to begin with. Honesty is the best policy, so don't try to hide it, keep on looking, you will find a job.
    BuckyBadgerRN and wrldwatchn2 like this.
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    Thanks for the reply but as I mentioned before felonies can not be expunged. And by "minor" felony I mean that it was not murder, rape etc. There is a BIG difference between murder and some petty theft but they are still both felonies, hence the word minor. Besides, as I mentioned, I DID NOT DO THE CRIME in the first place and I was a teenager(charged as an adult), so to me, it was minor. Also if you start reading the law books, there really are some laws that would shock you. Things you would never even think are illegal are and the word felony implies a terrible crime and that isn't always the case but I am still being classified in the same category as murders and rapists and so no wonder I can't get an interview.

    Also, as I stated, I did not disclose this to my nursing school director or the BON prior to sitting for the boards because I did not know it was on my record until after passing the NCLEX as I already explained. The fingerprint check did not come back apparently until after the test. Maybe my felony is only seen by FBI fingerprint and not by running my name (I don't know) So, I have been honest. As soon as I learned it was on my record, I have always checked yes on my applications.

    I already know from talking to lawyers that legally there is nothing I can do to fix this but get a pardon, but that will never happen because after doing some research, it appears that there are thousands of pardon applications sitting on the governors desk having never been looked at because governors don't want to appear to be soft on crime.

    The reason for my post as I mentioned before was to see if any HR person will even consider looking at a job application from someone who checked yes to a felony. This isn't about being honest, because I am being honest. I can't really explain the situation very well anyways without the interview. I still would like to hear from those that have checked yes and got the interview.

    On a side note, there are countless people that have been wrongfully convicted (including myself) in this country alone and society looks down on them and asks them to be sorry for the crime they did not commit. Imagine for a second how your life would be if YOU were accused of something you did not do and then for the rest of your life you had to be looked at as a criminal and couldn't even get a job and people told you to just be honest and say you are sorry and have learned from your mistake (In other words admit to the crime even though you didn't do it). Don't think it is possible... then you are wrong. It happens way more than anyone thinks. Think about it. Police officers are just regular people like you and me. They are biased and they aren't judges or lawyers either so when they arrest someone, many, many times they are wrong. But when a jury and judge sees that person in the courtroom, they like you, automatically think guilty because this society thinks that if they were innocent then the cop wouldn't have arrested them. We really put a lot of power in the hands of the police officers. Many of which are crooks themselves. Our legal system is far from anything we want it to be or think it is. From the cop all the way up to the law makers themselves. The system is flawed and therefore can't be trusted. But we are taught as young children to trust the police officer so we do and we trust the system and so there are a lot of you out there who automatically assume I am guilty and so it is my mistake to live with. Isn't this what the HR people think too, probably. So that's my problem. How do I get to be seen on my application as the smart, skilled nurse I am instead of the crime I was accused of?


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