Don't give up! CA with criminal history

  1. Hi there! I finished my nursing program at the end of May, received my ATT June 30, and got my official letter from the BRN today that at first sounds scary but at the end states they will not be pursing any disciplinary actions. I wanted to share my experience with getting approved by the BRN for NCLEX and license. I want other future nurses to know.. don't give up! You can get your license! It will take extra work and money, but that's the price you have to pay for past mistakes unfortunately. I'm going to try to make my long story short.. I can't believe who I use to be and who I am now.. my past is embarrassing but I have owned up to my mistakes worked so hard to get to where I am today.
    I had a very bad upbringing, abusive alcohol father but once again this are MY mistakes I made... When I was 17/ 18 (10 years ago) I made some huge mistakes and found, or well put myself in really bad situations. After about 1 1/2 years of several arrest for things.. I had 3 misdemeanors Theft by Unauthorized Taking, Receiving Stolen Property, and Tampering with Public Records (fake ID). I have 5 misdemeanors that I was never convicted (Unlawful Possession, marijuana possession, etc) and was never official arrested for, and lastly I had 1 felony that the judge dismissed. I definitely made lots of mistakes and was a completely different person. I moved to CA and started fresh. Unfortunately in 2011, at the age of 21 I made another mistake. I got a DUI. My alcohol level was low.. 0.083 that the DMV didn't recognize my DUI so I didn't loose my license and completed a 6 week program. Since then I have completely turned my life around. I have gotten everything on my record expunged/ annulled. Fast forward and here I am, just graduated my nursing program and taking NCLEX this week!

    The things you need for the BRN:

    1. CERTIFIED police reports which for my CA arrest I went right to the police station and got them. For my out of state arrest, I hired a lawyer to get my record expunged and asked for him to request certified police reports from the police departments. Some of the PD sent them and others weren't cooperative. I wrote in my letter to the BRN explaining this.

    2. CERTIFIED court documents. I called the court houses explaining the situation and they told me exactly how to go about it. Every county and state is different. Just call the court house where you went for court. Make sure you explain the situation because I found people responded better knowing why I needed these things. And because my record out of state is expunged, the court doesn't even recognize the charges so I explained that in my letter and asked for a letter from each court stating that there is no criminal history from the court house perspective.

    3. Letters of Recommendation/ Character References. I asked all of my clinical and theory professors that I had in my nursing program and also got a letter from my Dean which I highly recommend. Also, I thought about people who knew me and would be able to attest for my lifestyle change. Make sure you explain that these letters need to be professional and also signed by the person. I had two previous guidance counselors, my doctor, a therapist whom I had seen when I was 17-19 years old, and several employers I have worked for. I also went to a CA certified drug and alcohol counselor for an evaluation and sent that report in also. It was expensive and it's not required but I believe it shows the BRN that you are going above and beyond to prove you are fit to be a nurse.

    4. Proof of Rehabilitation. I had completed a 6 week alcohol class for my DUI and submitted the certificate form that, documents of my expunged records, letter from my doctor stating that I have consistently meeting with her for needed appointments and random drug tests, my previous therapist from childhood. Also, I volunteered during my nursing program at a local hospital for more than 120 hrs and had a letter from the woman in charge of the volunteer service.

    5. Personal Letter to the Board. It's really important that you write this letter very well and professional. Be straight forward about anything and everything. I gave a small paragraph explaining my home-life growing up because these are people who will be reading about you and do understand people make mistakes. But I made sure that I stated that I wasn't making excuses for my actions. I then wrote my paper in timeline format with the exact day of my arrest, the charges, police department, and my sentence/ punishment was. I also was straight forward with things that I was never charged with as long as I had good behavior. Because no matter what, those arrest will show up. I also stated charges that were dismissed. This part is going to be tough and take time. But you have to face your past and show the board that you own up to these past mistakes and have learned and grown from them. I had several people proof read my letter also. It came to be about 3 1/2 pages long. I threw in also how I've changed and used the nursing process to change my life.

    No matter what.. DON'T GIVE UP! Trust me I spent nights crying while reading threads on here looking for answers. Look at the BRN website and the directions for what they want. Yes it does say only report "convictions," but really all arrests will show up and they will see them so be up front from the beginning. A nurse needs to be accountable and honest. The BRN is looking at you to see if you are. Show remorse, give the facts, don't sugar coat it. We all have gone through things that shape us into who we are today! You can do this!
    •  
  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   TouchingAllOceans
    You're awesome - thanks for an uplifting post in a sea of ones that invoke anxiety and "what ifs".
    Congratulations on getting your ATT with no restrictions and good luck on your NCLEX. <3
  4. by   Godismystrength01
    Hi, i have almost similar dilemma right now as yours. I am planning to take NCLEX to my chosen state but i have history of Revoked License to one of the country that i worked before specifically in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia because of some issues on Certificate of Employment verification. I came back to my country home from SaudiArabia after they revoked my license, I am working now in my country, I moved on and continue my life. I am now working as a general nurse in one of the hospital here in my country and gaining year of experience and now i am planning to take nclex but after reviewing the eligibility requirements, and criminal background check, I got scared that my dream of working in USA will be gone.
    thanks in advance for your reply.
  5. by   Eluf2366
    Question!?! Did your nursing school/clinical locations run a DOJ and FBI background check? My story is pretty similar to yours, it has been over 10 years since my last arrest and EVERYTHING has been expunged. I am anticipating acceptance into a program for Spring 18', but I believe they do an FBI background check which will show EVERYTHING, including expungements. I am worried that the hospitals for clinicals will not accept me if they see my expungements. It is nice to see some hope on here. I have read horror stories on here for years, but have pushed forward with faith that I will be able to accomplish my goal, knowing it is an EXTREMELY uphill battle. Like you, I am not even a sliver of the lost young lady I used to be. Anyways, let me know... thanks!
  6. by   bruin2010
    Hey Eluf2366,

    My nursing school ran a background check but Im not sure which one. Regardless, my expungement did not show up. You should be fine if you're in CA. Good luck.
  7. by   katie457
    Thank you for sharing this!! I was wondering how long your letters of recommendation were and how many you included? I will need to do this when I apply and was wondering how many people I should ask to write on my behalf?
    Thank you!

close