Where do hospitals get their background check information from?

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    Over twenty years ago, I got a DUI, and on a separate instance, a possession of pot charge. I haven't touched an illegal drug in decades, rarely drink, and I'm not the same person I was then.

    I'm considering nursing, speech pathology, OT and PT. I know that my local BON (and I'm assuming OT and PT licensing agencies) will have full access to my FBI rap sheet, and so I have to be completely forthcoming and document everything (which is going to be a pain considering how long ago these things happened).

    However, it seems like a lot of people have found forgiveness from the board only to find out that no hospital will touch them.

    I guess where I'm coming from is this:

    A board of state licensing professionals has already investigated me at a level no private employer will ever have access to. I've already had every past mistake carefully scrutinized and been deemed perfectly fit to perform my job. I'll be damned if I'm going to be seen as damaged goods by some twit in HR who's gonna disregard a lifetime of accomplishment over a few mistakes made a lifetime ago.

    If I'd done anything that horrendous, I couldn't have applied for the job in the first place...

    In other positions unrelated to healthcare or education, I've had many background checks done by private employers and they've found nothing. Those checks only go back 7 years, 10 at the most.

    I went to the town I got my pot charge in, had the police fingerprint me, and had them check with the state police for criminal charges. They found nothing.

    I haven't done a FBI check yet, but I'm sure they'll have EVERYTHING.

    Almost nobody is allowed that level of background access, unless you're applying for a national security clearance, working at a nuclear power plant, or apparently, wanting to become a nurse.

    So do hospitals just have to call up the BON and ask, "Hey, what do you have on this person?". Can they fingerprint you and do an FBI rap sheet? Or do they have to look up this information in public record like any other employer?

    If the records are old and can't be found electronically, it seems unlikely they would go to the trouble of hiring someone to go to the county courthouse digging for dirt. Other people on this forum have stated that they couldn't find their own records to give to the board, so how on earth would a hospital find out about them then?
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  4. 5 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    After doing some research on these forums and elsewhere...

    I haven't found anything that specifically says hospitals can check your FBI records, but it seems like any company that provides care to children, the elderly, or the disabled is allowed to do so. Nursing homes and home health care agencies are definitely allowed to fingerprint you and get your FBI rap sheet, and at least some states REQUIRE them to do so. Same thing for schools.

    Depending on your record, you might not be legally prevented from working, but that doesn't mean anyone is going to give you a job.

    It's weird that after spending a lot of time looking into a career in health care, I never came across anyone saying they had to be fingerprinted to get their job.

    One of the problems with the FBI rap sheet is that it may only show your arrest with no record of outcome. If your charges were not felonies and happened a long, long time ago, it's possible that the state and your county courthouse might not have your records anymore. If your charges were dismissed or you need to document the outcome for any other reason, I don't know what you're supposed to do.

    Anyway, if I were able to document everything, I'd like to think I could get licensed, but I don't think there's any way I could ever get a job at a hospital. Maybe no job anywhere.

    I think I've only found one person here who admitted a criminal past and got hired anywhere (and that person soon quit because the facility was breaking all sorts of regulations). If anyone knows a person that actually got hired with a criminal past, I'd like to hear about it.
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    Since your charges happened so long ago, have you thought about getting them expunged?
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    Unfortunately, my state won't allow expungement if you have more than one offense. Even if I could, the FBI would still have a record of the arrest. This would get disclosed to a state agency, but I don't know if they'd share it with a hospital or not.
  8. 1
    Not sure if this will help, but certain boards treat expunged records as if it never happened. My classmate had a conviction that was expunged and when she called her BOA, the executive director got on the phone with her and said she can mark No on the application, and if by chance it still shows up, she just needs to provide them with proof that it was expunged, and she'll be okay.

    So considering how long ago it was, perhaps your record can't be expunged, but there might be another way to seal it or pardon it or something. Speaking to an attorney might help. My classmate is a great nursing student as I'm sure you are too. It's not fair to penalize you for old mistakes.
    wrldwatchn2 likes this.
  9. 0
    I am going through the same thing, 13 years ago I stole a shirt and was charged with petit theft (misdemeanor) . My record was sealed that same year and I have never been in trouble since. However, I am starting RN school in the Fall and I am nervous that when I am finished with school, no hospital will hire me. This is not who I am, I was a senior in high school (turned 18 two months before I was arrested) when I did this. I know that this was my fault but it is unfortunate how one minor mistake can follow you forever. I am just unsure how deep into the background they investigate for employment purposes. Good luck to you and hope it all works out!


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