Nurse with Felony Charges

  1. I'm currently in the health information technology program. I would like to switch to nursing next fall. I've made a few mistakes in my past and have a felony and a couple misdemeanors on my record. The felony is from about 5 years ago. I understand a background check is required in order to get into the nursing program. I'm working on getting my record expunged by lawyer. Does anyone have any advice on getting my record expunged without the help of a lawyer? I didn't know if that was at all possible without a lawyer. I have definitely turn my life around after I had my daughter which was the best thing that ever happened to me. I'm 26 years old and I just got diagnosed with cancer recently and after finding this out it's really changed my mind on my career choice if you all could please give me some input I know there are plenty of nurses out there at that have felony charges. I'm just afraid of getting turned down after applying for the program that's my biggest fear . thank you all for reading
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from rebeccam0022
    I'm currently in the health information technology program. I would like to switch to nursing next fall. I've made a few mistakes in my past and have a felony and a couple misdemeanors on my record. The felony is from about 5 years ago. I understand a background check is required in order to get into the nursing program. I'm working on getting my record expunged by lawyer. Does anyone have any advice on getting my record expunged without the help of a lawyer? I didn't know if that was at all possible without a lawyer. I have definitely turn my life around after I had my daughter which was the best thing that ever happened to me. I'm 26 years old and I just got diagnosed with cancer recently and after finding this out it's really changed my mind on my career choice if you all could please give me some input I know there are plenty of nurses out there at that have felony charges. I'm just afraid of getting turned down after applying for the program that's my biggest fear . thank you all for reading
    I would definitely use a lawyer, and even then be prepared for possible difficulties. What your crimes were matters. How long ago they were matters. Even if you get into a nursing program, you may not be eligible to sit for boards. Do some serious exploring before you invest the time and money in school.

    You may find this section of the site interesting or useful:
    http://allnurses.com/nursing-licensure-criminal/
    Good luck to you.
  4. by   LovingLife123
    Understand that getting charges expunged does not erase it from a background check. The arrests will still show up. That's a very big misconception on here is that it just magically disappears if you get expungement.

    You will need a lawyer and get everything clarified ahead of time. And just because you can get into nursing school does not mean you can sit for NCLEX. They are two different things.

    It's the clinical sites that require the background check, not the school. You will have to be approved to go into all of their clinical sites. When I went to school, one clinical site required a federal check as well. Those that passed the school check, now had to pony up all the appropriate paperwork for the federal one.
  5. by   Been there,done that
    You do not need a lawyer to expunge your record. You would file a motion and go before the judge yourself.
    Only the nursing program you will be applying to, can answer your question about their requirements.

    You didn't ask, but I feel the need to say... if you have a diagnosis of cancer, until you are in remission, you will not have what it takes to succeed in nursing school. Your focus MUST be on your own health.

    Best wishes.
  6. by   meanmaryjean
    Multiple convictions is a HUGE red flag for most programs. You need an attorney. And you need to understand what the AP have said, because expungement does NOT mean these convictions magically go away and you never suffer any consequences of your actions again.
  7. by   ProperlySeasoned
    It's not just about getting into school. You may be bared from certain clinical sites. Getting a license and job will also be an uphill battle with a felony. The issue is patients are one of the most vulnerable populations, and a felony is a big strike. I would think very hard about going into healthcare.
  8. by   MiladyMalarkey
    Keep in mind as well that there are some states that do not actually expunge records, they can do a set aside judgment which "helps" but your convictions/arrest still show on background checks & for nursing school purposes (or employment) can remove you from consideration still. If you haven't already, point blank ask your attorney if your state expunges records at all. Good luck.
  9. by   Nurse Beth
    Background Check # 1
    Nursing schools typically conduct a background check. This check is similar to the background checks that employers conduct. It's a "light check", if you will, and often does not uncover expungement.

    Background Check # 2
    There's a second hurdle. Upon graduation the state BON conducts a second background check that is far deeper. An FBI level check. An FBI level check uncovers everything, including expungements. What happens now? At this point, the BON puts a hold on your application to test for your RN license until a decision is made.

    This is where you write a letter of explanation and supply a list of detailed documents.

    Hope this helps you decide. note- in some but not most states, the Background Check #2 is performed at time of application to nursing school.
  10. by   luvmyc
    You would have quite an uphill battle. First, getting into a program. As others have said, then being allowed at certain clinical sites and then finally (IF that all works out for you) being able to sit for your boards. From what I remember, you'd have to write a letter to the BON explaining what happened and see if they would allow you to. Even having it expunged is no guarantee.
  11. by   adventure_rn
    Just wanted to add, since I don't think it's been mentioned: having a criminal history may also make it very difficult for you to get nursing jobs even if you are able to become licensed. So in summary, your criminal history can prevent you from 1) getting into school, 2) being able to complete clinical courses in school, 3) being allowed to sit for the licensing boards, and 4) getting a job after graduation. If you get stuck at any of these points, you run the risk of spending a ton of money and time on nursing school (not to mention lost full-time income while in nursing school) without being able to practice. If I were in your shoes, I'd probably just walk away. For me, it would not be worth the risk.
  12. by   SerenityKris
    I was actually diagnosed with cancer in the middle of nursing school. When I spoke to my instructor and explained that I wanted to wait until summer to have surgery she actually did an instructor level withdrawal from her class so I had no reason to wait on getting treatment.
    I can't speak on the legal issues associated with this post, but I do agree that you need to deal with your health issues before taking on nursing school. Usually there is very little wiggle room when it comes to missing clinical time. I had a very difficult time when I went back the next semester. I managed and I'm an RN now - but it was very very rough going.
    Good luck.

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