Need to know about doing clinicals with a few felony convictions (In San Diego, Ca)

  1. Over 10 years ago I was on meth and committed many crimes to feed my habit. I am now clean and am very much wanting to become a RN nurse. I have spoken with the BON and was informed that they grant licensure on a case by case basis, therefore that portion of my concern is satisfied. What I am concerned about is Clinicals. I am afraid that I will not be able to go into a hospital to do Clinicals when it is time, therefore would have wasted a lot of time and money going to school to become a nurse.

    Is there anyone out here that has experienced this? Please help.
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   wish_me_luck
    Ask your school.
  4. by   vernayjustice
    I did and they stated that they cannot guarantee that I will be able to get into Clinicals but they are optomistic
  5. by   poppycat
    Keep in mind also that even if you are able to do clinicals & get a license, it may be difficult to obtain a job in nursing with a criminal history.
  6. by   jackstem
    Consult with a license defense aytorney in your state. They are the best suited individual to answer your questions. Schools may tell you it will be no problem, but they have a financial reason, your tuition. The board, their job is to protect the public. I've seen boards tell potential nursing students all kinds of things, yes you'll get your license - no problem, no - we don't license felons, and everything in between. As some have said, the school might accept you as a student only to find the hospital won't let you do clinicals. Paying lots of money for an education you might never use doesn't make financial sense.

    Good luck!


    The American Association of Nurse Attorneys
  7. by   catmom1
    As I have been following this thread, I keep thinking that just getting the education and license is one thing. Getting hired somewhere is quite another.

    Most places I have worked, or even applied to, have categorically excluded convicted felons from employment. I think Jackstem is right (as usual, lol) in that you have to consider the source of the answers you are getting. Schools will tell you anything to get your tuition dollar. In the end, they will have your money and you will be unemployed.

    Sorry to be so negative but I obviously have no axe to grind here except to hopefully keep another person from being led astray by the nursing profession.

  8. by   Meriwhen
    Quote from vernayjustice
    I did and they stated that they cannot guarantee that I will be able to get into Clinicals but they are optomistic
    Unfortunately, that pretty much is your answer.

    When it comes to clinical sites, it's not so much the school's guidelines as it is the clinical site's guidelines.They have the right to refuse to let you perform clinicals based on your criminal record. I agree that it's not always fair, but it is legal.

    Also, just like clinical sites can turn you down because of your record, employers don't automatically have to accept your criminal history and grant you a job just because the BON gave you a license. Again, not always fair, but it is legal.

    It definitely couldn't hurt to consult with that attorney. I agree with jackstem, catmom and KarenfRN. You will have an uphill battle against you--in school, with the BON and with finding employment--and you should educate yourself about what you're facing as much as possible.

    Best of luck.
  9. by   llg
    As someone who processes the paperwork for students doing clinicals at my hospital, I agree with the posters above who say that the clinical sites are free to make their own decisions -- both about hiring you and about whether or not they allow you to do clinicals at their site. If you choose to go ahead with your current plans, be prepared to have to explain yourself and "prove yourself worthy" of the clinical sites' trust, possibly for each new clinical site.

    If I were you, I would get a list of the possible clinical sites from your school and contact those sites directly. Find out ahead of time whether or not they will allow you go there. Be prepared to submit copies of court records, undergo an interview or request for a written statement about how you have changed, and offer to submit to drug testing if the facility wants it. Get their responses in writing. If necessary, work out an arrangement with your school so that your clinicals will be conducted only at those facilities that agree to let you go there. That may delay your progress in school, but it's better than getting half-way through and then run into a major road-block that you are not prepared to handle.

    I would also be consulting with an attorney about it all. The attorney might not be needed, but it would be a good thing to have one available for legal information and advice.
  10. by   InformaticsRN.MA
    Have you thought about becoming a CNA (much shorter time/financial commitment) and seeing if you can get a job at a hospital doing that? Granted, it's very different from being an RN, and the pay is much lower, but if you are able to work at a hospital and enjoy the work enough to stay there for a year or two, you could then talk to your employer (who would likely know you and trust you by then) about doing clinicals there. And there are some major similarities with nursing - caring for people, listening to their needs, and working in the hospital setting - that it would give you some idea of whether it's the right career for you.
  11. by   jackstem
    I spoke with a client in treatment where I work as a counselor. Her primary counselor asked me for input since I was a CRNA before my addiction and consult with a license defense attorney. I hated to be the person who rained on her parade but I've seen too many people getting close to graduation only to discover they were denied their application to take the boards or to discover they received a restricted license with mandatory monitoring for 5 years. The cost of tuition vs the cost of a legal consultation before entering nursing school is well worth the $$ to get an objective, legal opinion on what the person may face. This is true for any profession requiring licensure.