Quote from TY27
Hi. I live in texas but, I am a Louisiana transplant. I recieved a felony in 2004 at the age of 18 in Louisiana. I am a registered dental assistant in the state of Texas and work as a lead assistant at Castle Dental. I want to enroll in the nursing program at Lone star college in Houston. I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on this career change. I want to konw if there is any hope for me in this field.
You have three challenges that you will have to get through.
First, you need to be accepted into a nursing school. Whether a school will accept your felony conviction depends on both what the conviction is and what the school's guidelines are. It is possible to get accepted: how possible, I can't tell you that, only the school can. In addition, the clinical sites may not be willing to accept you and your felony conviction, and their decision is independent of the school's...so make sure you inquire about that before enrolling in the program (assuming the school will accept you).
Second, you need to get licensed by a state BON. Keep in mind that the state BON has its own guidelines regarding criminal histories, and the fact that a nursing school accepted your criminal record doesn't mean that the BON has to accept it and license you. In addition, should you be able to get licensed by TX, that doesn't mean that the other states have to grant you licensure.
Last, you need to find a job. Again, employers have their own guidelines and the fact that a BON licensed you doesn't mean that the employer has to accept your criminal record and give you a job.
Where to begin? First of all I would check with the BON first, as it won't matter where you go to school if the state won't license you. Find out if your felony conviction is one that automatically disqualifies you for licensure.
If your felony isn't one that automatically disqualifies you, then there's hope for a nursing career. BONs review all criminal applicants on a case-by-case basis, and the fact that one nurse with a criminal record got licensed/rejected doesn't mean another nurse with a similar record will always meet the same fate.
Unfortunately, most BONs won't give you a definite answer as to whether you'll get licensed until you actually apply for licensure...which means that you'll have to go all the way through nursing school first. And that's a gamble that you have to be willing to take: you may spend all that time and money on school and not be able to get licensed at the end of it.
Fair? Not always. But that's what it is.
In addition, if you have any legal questions--and especially if you have to go in front of the BON regarding your criminal record--get a lawyer involved. The BON is NOT the nurse's friend.
Many nurses with criminal histories are able to get licensed and have a nursing career. Yes, this includes those with felony convictions. It's not easy, nor is it guaranteed--especially with a felony conviction. But it is possible.
Best of luck.