this is not the end of the world or a reason to drop out of nursing school. even then, i'd call the state board first or consult a lawyer before hanging up my stethoscope.
i went to the nj board of nursing website to look this up.
the only actual law i could find regarding background checks in the nj nursing law was for home health aides. you can view it here http://www.nj.gov/lps/ca/laws/nursinglaws.pdf
at 45:11-24.3 background checks for homemaker-home health aide certification applicant
. i read the entire section. it states that "no person shall be disqualified from certification on the basis of any conviction disclosed by a criminal history record background check performed pursuant to sections 7 through 13 and section 14 of p.l.1997, c.100 (c.45:11-24.3 through 24.9 and c.53:1-20.9a) if the person has affirmatively demonstrated to the new jersey board of nursing in the division of consumer affairs clear and convincing evidence of the person's rehabilitation." as with most states it depends on the seriousness of the offense, how long it's been since it happened, the circumstances surrounding it (that's why you save all the court papers regarding the case--forever) and proof of any counseling the person might have had.
i also looked at the application for licensure by examination (nclex) (http://www.nj.gov/lps/ca/nursing/nurse_app.pdf
). it states: if the criminal history background check reveals a criminal conviction, a review of your application by the board of nursing will be required.
for further information:
- the national council of state boards of nursing’s nclex information and candidate bulletin at www.ncsbn.org
- questions regarding your application by e-mail:
- questions regarding your application by telephone:
- new jersey board of nursing at (973) 504-6430
it asks the following questions on the application:
- 14. have you ever been summoned; arrested; taken into custody; indicted; tried; charged with; admitted into pre-trial intervention (p.t.i.); or pled guilty to any violation of law, ordinance, felony, misdemeanor or disorderly persons offense, in new jersey, any other state, the district of columbia or in any other jurisdiction? (parking or speeding violations need not be disclosed, but motor vehicle violations such as driving while impaired or intoxicated must be.)
- 15. have you ever been convicted of any crime or offense under any circumstances? this includes, but is not limited to, a plea of guilty, non vult, nolo contendere, no contest, or a finding of guilt by a judge or jury. if “yes,” provide a copy of the judgment of conviction and the release from parole or probation. please provide a complete explanation. (attach additional sheets of paper to this application.)
- 16. are you aware of any investigation pending against a professional license or certificate issued to you by a professional board in new jersey, any other state, the district of columbia or in any other jurisdiction?
- 17. are there any criminal charges now pending against you in new jersey, any other state, the district of columbia or in any other jurisdiction?
if the answer to any of the above questions is “yes,” provide a complete explanation of the circumstances leading to the action, and any supporting documentation, on separate sheets of paper.
and finally at the end of the application under the section for certification and authorization form for a criminal history background check
it says: have you ever been arrested and/or convicted of a crime or offense? (minor traffic offenses such as a parking or speeding violations need not be listed.) yes no every such conviction on record must be disclosed
. a true copy of every police report, judgment of conviction, sentencing order and termination of probation order, if applicable, must be submitted with this form. any documents (including employer or supervisor letters of reference, if applicable) which present clear and convincing evidence of rehabilitation must be submitted with this form. failure to follow these instructions may result in the denial of an initial application. note
: copies of judgments, sentencing and termination of probation orders may be obtained from the clerk of the county where those orders, disposing of the conviction, were issued and filed. your continuing responsibility to disclose convictions of crimes or offenses
: you must notify the board or committee within five (5) business days if you are convicted of any crimes or offenses after this form has been completed.
the nj board seems to be aware of this issue of schools not performing criminal background checks as it has been discussed at board meetings and it has been proposed that nursing schools inform students prior to admission. i would imagine that this is something that will be taken into account when your classmate applies for their license. if boards denied licenses to every one with criminal convictions there would be an even bigger nursing shortage. the point of the criminal system is that once a person has paid for the crime, the slate is clean. it is only for certain crimes (violence and physical harm against self and other persons: murder, assault, substance abuse) that they usually are most strict about when denying a license. important point
: your classmate should not lie on any application with the state board. tell them to keep all papers and documents pertaining to the shoplifting conviction for the remainder of their life (like a birth certificate) as it may come up again with a future employer and these documents may need to be produced. the courts after a certain amount of time destroy the original records and only a line item shows up on the computer with no details.