I have felonies from 10 years ago that are directly related to drug abuse. I have been clean since 2002 and would like to go to nursing school. My only concern is Clinicals. I live in San Diego Ca.
Jan 26, '13
by Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN Senior Moderator
Moving to the Criminal History Forum.
To answer your question...it depends on the policies of the clinical sites. A school may decide to accept your criminal history and admit you, but every clinical site has the right to review your criminal history and make their own mind up: the fact that nursing school accepted you doesn't mean that a hospital has to let you perform clinicals there.
I know, if you don't perform clinicals you can't pass nursing school. Sometimes schools can accommodate students with criminal histories by using different clinical sites, but they are not required to.
Since schools are usually familiar with what their clinical sites' requirements are, what I would do is contact the nursing school that you are planning/want to attend, disclose your history (which you will have to do when you apply anyway) and ask them what they think.
Of course, you will have more hurdles after nursing school...
The BRN is a big challenge, since they're the ones who will be licensing you as a nurse. Because a school lets you in doesn't mean the BRN automatically grants you a license...and this is where a lot of criminal history applicants have problems. Yes, there are a number of applicants who slog all the way through nursing school just to be told, "Sorry, but NO" by the BRN.
No, it's not fair. But that's reality.
You should contact the BRN to see what they think of your record and what you can do to help meet requirements for licensure. This IMO is your biggest gamble, because (unfortunately) the BRN will probably not give you a definite answer until you actually apply for licensure: they review each applicant on a case-by-case basis. But perhaps you can get enough info from them as well as some tips to help improve your chances.
And your last hurdle will be employment...because again, just because the BRN grants you a license doesn't mean employers have to automatically accept your criminal history--they're free to accept or reject you based on their own criteria. It will not be easy to find work with a felony conviction of any type, especially in healthcare.
I don't mean to discourage you, but these are facts that you do have to keep in mind. Even though it's been more than 10 years and you have learned from past mistakes (I hope!), you may find that certain avenues of nursing will be forever closed to you.
It can be done--there are many nurses with felony convictions working--but it's a long hard road...and not always a successful or fair one. Only you can decide if it's worth taking a shot at it.
Best of luck.
Last edit by Meriwhen on Jan 26, '13