Becoming a nurse in nj or pa with as a convicted felon

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    Hello everyone- I'll try to keep this as brief as possible. I won't beat around the bush and say "my friend" or "I have a relative".... This pertains to me and only me. From the ages of 17-20 I got into a lot of trouble, resulting in several convictions- ranging from theft to drug possession. By the age of 21 I woke up and realized I had to move my life in the direction it was supposed to go all along (when I was national honor society and had academic scholorships waiting for me). After 18 months of recovery (in the NA program), I decided to start schooling for nursing. I completed my pre-req's with a 4.0 and applied to Thomas Jefferson, where I was accepted. After being accepted, I wrote a letter to the board of nursing of PA, explaining my situation. Two weeks before orientation, they notified me that I should have at least ten years between me and any trouble I have had in the past. That was five years ago. I have started to do some preliminary research about getting back into school and it seems the rules have gotten much stiffer over the last few years. It confuses me though- there seem to be a ton of programs for nurses who have fallen from grace AFTER they got their license, but not much for people who have done some stupid things as a kid and have since gotten their life on track. I have 6 and a half years clean and have not had any type of legal trouble in over seven years. I guess I'm seeking some advice- am I wasting my time? Should I just give up and realize that the mistakes I made as a young adult will prevent me from any type of dignified career? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have always wanted to get into nursing- I know I have the brains for it, I certainly have the compassion- I made many mistakes but none of them ever involved any type of violence- I was simply a dumb junkie that got caught up in a terrible lifestyle. I live in new jersey and would like to nurse in jersey or PA, but it seems these are two of the toughest states when considering this matter. Thank you in advance for any help.
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  3. 2 Comments so far...

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    Half of me wants to tell you to just move on to another field, and half of me wants to tell you to stick it out. I don't want to be completely negative and I don't want to give you false hope either. I see many people my age make some very bad decisions, all without thinking about what happens later. I feel for you, I really do, because it is easy to get caught up in the system when you're young.

    I've read stories on here about nurses who have gotten their license and jobs with criminal records, but their case varies. However, if I was in this situation, I would move onto another field. You seem smart, there's tons of other options available. You said you had several convictions and are a felon, odds are stacked up against you. I have one pending minor in consumption charge that I am seriously freaking out about when it comes to licensing time. I'm also worried about being employable. Seems like you did your research, noticing that policies are stricter, and in this economy, I wouldn't shell out $$$ for nursing school and graduate but in the end be told you can't get licensed by the boards. Higher education is an investment, so do it wisely.
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    Do what makes you happy. If you want to be an RN, then you should do it. You may not be able to apply for a license in PA when you graduate (10 years is ridicules) but you can apply to other states!

    There must be other states that are far more lenient. I live in Arizona, which is a compact state, and they only require 5 years since your fast felony to apply for a license. They may bust your b**** and make you jump through hoops to get your license!

    One of the best things you have going for you is that you aren't making excuses for yourself of your past choices. This is very important in the nursing profession & people respect that. Just the facts ma'am! Don't downplay your convictions-- what have you learned from this is key!

    You stated that you went to NA--maybe would be a good idea to enroll in a continual treatment program during school that is not "anonymous" & keep records of your attendance. You never know-- they might be very useful in the future!

    Best of luck to you!


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