Felons and Nursing in VA

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    Okay alot of questions have arose about being a felon and nursing. I am a felon. I was convicted of manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance 20 years ago. I applied to a school in VA after speaking to the VA BON. I told the school about my felony from day one. They allowed me into the LPN program. I put in 7 months of very hard book and lab work to find out when clinical rotation arrived i was not on the list. The school said that with my felony i was not allowed into any of the clinical sites. I was devastated. I had told them that i spoke to the BON and they said that i was able to get my nursing license in the state of VA and that my crime was not a barrier crime but that didnt seem to matter to them. My federal loans were charged $17,000 and the school dismissed me from the program. I ended up having to get a lawyer and sue them to get my money back. In my opinion if you have a felony on your record good luck in finding a school that will allow you into a nursing program, and good luck having a real life because it will probably not happen. This stigma on my record has ruined my life. I had to settle for a menial job because I am not allowed to better myself because I made that mistake 20 years ago. In fact good luck in finding any job with a felony on your record. The laws in this country need to be changed to allow felons who have nothing else on their records to have the felony expunged without having to pay ridiculous amounts of money and tons of paperwork. BTW i have checked the BON of Nevada, Wisconsin, and Virginia and all say that selling drugs is not a barrier crime.
  2. Poll: Do you think that one time felony offenders should have a second chance?

  3. 14 Comments so far...

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    I must agree with you. I believe permanent records ruin lives and foster ill-will, hinder personal and professional growth, and promote recidivism. It is truly a rare thing for a person to ever grow beyond the label.

    I would like to see a change too.
    Nola009 and whatitdo1983 like this.
  5. 1
    I can sympathize with your situation. I worked in corrections for 14 years in California. I was jaded for a long time seeing the worst in people but over time I saw the reality of peoples situation. Not making excuses for bad behavior but the system seems to work against people that want to better themselves.

    The recividism rate in California is near 70%. For most, crime just was a way of life but the more I delved into why many of them returned, many simply had no options. Most of the programs in the prison to "rehabilitate" people have gone away because of cost. One aspect many people in "the streets" fail to realize, most inmates parole and life is hard for people who don't have felonies. Many of the inmates parole in the very same environment where they found themselves in trouble to begin with. I think the reality is prison is a for profit business. The people who create prisons to the people who make laws have an agenda but it's created a cash cow that no one wants to really stop.

    Ok, I'm off my soapbox but I still believe where there's a will there's a way mentality. You may have to pursue your licensure elsewhere. I don't know if it's even possible to go to a US territory like Puerto Rico or Guam and see what rules may apply there. I'm just typing without knowing but the point is there's probably a way to become a nurse but you may have to think outside the proverbial box.

    Best of luck to you. I hope you keep continuing to better yourself and there's always going to be haters, you just have to rise above them.
    Nola009 likes this.
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    Moved to nursing license with a criminal history. Note this forum is moderated and all posts must be reviewed by staff before appearing in public view
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    I'm sure I'm gonna be in the minority here, but, no, I don't think someone with a drug conviction (no matter how long ago) has any business whatsoever being a nurse. Nurses help save lives. While you were making and distributing drugs, how many lives did you ruin or or perhaps end? You will never know. I don't think someone who was convicted of adding to the problem that's destroying so many lives should be allowed to work around drugs and administer them to others. I know I would not want that person taking care of me or those I love. Sorry if that's not what you wanted to hear, but you did ask for my opinion.
  8. 1
    < The laws in this country need to be changed to allow felons who have nothing else on their records to have the felony expunged without having to pay ridiculous amounts of money and tons of paperwork. >

    This is a very broad statement. Murder is a felony - and to suggest that a convicted murderer (even if the murder was their 'only' offense) should 'have the felony expunged (by ANY means) is ludicrous.

    I cannot pretend to understand what it must be like for you - and I do sympathize regarding the barriers which are preventing you from becoming a nurse.

    However, you must understand that nursing is, and has been, one of the most trusted professions. We enter into the private world of our patients in ways that virtually none of the other professions do. And as such, regulations are put into place - broad regulations, to be sure - to protect the patient, not to benefit the nurse. ALL of the regulations put into place by nursing boards are there to protect the patient.

    As far as facilities denying you for clinicals- again, protecting their patients.

    I wish you well. (And I agree that you should get your $$ back from the school that allowed you to enroll, knowing you would not be able to complete clinicals.)
    poppycat likes this.
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    I am not going to vote because I can see both sides. However, I wanted to throw out this suggestion- have you looked into being a CSAC? It is a certified substance abuse counselor. I know that many, not all, however, have drug pasts. Good luck!
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  10. 0
    Quote from marycarney

    However, you must understand that nursing is, and has been, one of the most trusted professions. We enter into the private world of our patients in ways that virtually none of the other professions do. And as such, regulations are put into place - broad regulations, to be sure - to protect the patient, not to benefit the nurse. ALL of the regulations put into place by nursing boards are there to protect the patient.
    Yes, so protected. Protected enough to give first hand accounts of how hard it was to care for the Boston bomber. Yes, let "Marie" give her heartfelt story of an infamous villain to the Boston Globe and probably make a nice profit as she did so.

    For all of us nurses act in the best interests of all our patients and always respect patient confidentiality despite the circumstances that put them under your care. We are a trusted and noble profession after all.
  11. 1
    Unfortunately, the fact that any BON said that your felony was not a barrier crime to licensure doesn't mean that nursing schools and/or clinical sites have to welcome you and your record with open arms. They are legally within their rights to deny you based on your criminal record.

    Fair? Not always. But legal? Yes.

    I'm sorry you have been going through such trying times. Is it possible to find another school who may be able to work with you regarding clinical placements?

    Best of luck wherever life takes you.
    Esme12 likes this.
  12. 3
    The question is too broad. There may be times when a particular felon should be given a 2nd chance, but that doesn't EVERY convicted felon should be given a second chance.
    Esme12, VivaLasViejas, and Meriwhen like this.


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