Will First Offender keep me out of nursing?

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    Hi everyone! I have used this board endlessly for help, and you guys have been an amazing resource! I know a LOT of legal questions get asked on here, and we are supposed to check with our local board of nursing (I have scoured their website thus far), but I am really hoping to hear from someone who had/has a similar situation to me, and would be grateful for any thoughts you may have. I only need to complete A&P II and take the TEAS to be eligible to apply to local ADN programs. However, I am concerned about my background check. I have been in recovery a long time, but did have a felony charge (the charge is not drug or alcohol related, but was a result of my use). It is not a charge that involves violence, or a sex offense. I pled guilty (I was) under First Offender, and am technically not considered convicted of a felony because of that, though it was a felony charge. I know the BON lists "moral turpitude" as a possible disqualifier for licensure, however, this seems to be a grey area. I completed my probation, and have only one other thing on my record since then, which I am not worried about (traffic related). This was fifteen years ago. SO . . . what do you all think? I am about to put in a lot of hard work, sweat, time away from family, etc. for A&P and TEAS studying, and am hoping and praying it will be worth it in the end. Thank you for reading this long post, and TIA for all experiences you have to share.
    I also have contacts in local hospitals (RN's) and from local families that can all state I have worked professionally, compassionately, and competently with them over the past six years or so, and can provide letters of reference. I am hoping this will help!

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  2. 11 Comments...

  3. 0
    Only thing I can offer is to call the school you are applying to and speak with someone from the nursing department. I know at my college they said for like DUIs, that people literally have to wait 7 years to apply
  4. 0
    Have you looked into getting it expunged? You will still have to disclose it to the BON but it may help you.
  5. 0
    Thank you both! Unfortunately First Offender is exempt from expungement.
  6. 0
    You should consult with your attorney for legal advice about this question. We can only provide personal opinion here. We cannot answer legal questions.
  7. 0
    In addition, there are fifty different Boards of Nursing which operate under separate state laws and regulations. What may have adjudicated for a RN in one state would not apply to another state.

    I would recommend that you contact an attorney in your state directly who has experience in dealing with your state's licensing agencies.
  8. 0
    Thanks, but - if I could afford an attorney, I would have no need to post this question! As I stated in my post, I am hoping for feedback from others who were in the same boat, so - seeking what others experiences may have been. I'm aware that state laws differ, and am also aware that no one on this board is giving me what would be considered legal advice, just experiences and opinions.
  9. 0
    I'd suggest calling the BON. in Arizona you go before the board and explain yourself and they would likely allow your license for something like that. I'd not sweat it. Just call and speak with them and see what they suggest.
  10. 0
    I honestly would go to a nursing adviser at your school and other schools as well. I wouldn't call or email, I would personally go to them and explain exactly what happened. I would also tell them about your references and how this was so long ago. Be perfectly honest with them and see what they say. They might tell you they will not admit you or they might tell you it will be fine. It will also help to talk to them too because when your name shows up and they see that charge, they will already know what happened and know what your situation is. Everyone is different and every program is different, they might see that you have worked so hard to get to where you are and might over look the charge. Good luck!
  11. 0
    I am in the same type of situation.

    I have the equivalent to a felony on my record from when I was a juvenile that relates to drug/alcohol use. Even if expunged the BON still has access to those records.

    After I received my acceptance letter into the nursing program I went and told my program director about my past and she told me that I shouldn't attend the program because I would be denied licensure if I even made it through school because of the clinical background checks. Fortunately juvenile records do not show up on background checks, so I had no problems with clinicals. Unfortunately the BON has access to expunged and juvenile records.

    The BON can not tell you anything until you apply because it is a "case by case basis". I worried about it everyday while in school. My school told me that I shouldn't hire a lawyer because I would "be okay if I am just honest, and that they will give me a consent aggreement that I will just sign". I just knew in my gut that I needed a lawyer to help me gather the paperwork relevant, and that would help me fill out my application accurately, and that knew the law and was familiar with the workings of the BON.

    I just graduated valedictorian of my ADN program, have numerous reference letters, I hired a lawyer in December and it has taken all of that time to gather the necessary paperwork and I am still waiting on some before I can even send in my application. I worry all of the time what if I will not be able to be licensed, but I also know that if I didn't pursue this and at least try then I would not have been happy. I know that I have changed, and just have to make the BON see that I have also. I am glad that I didn't listen about not hiring a lawyer because the "consent aggreement" that they may give you may be full of restrictions that make it near impossible to get licensed.

    Do not just follow the advice of the program director or school. If you do decide to go to school then be prepared to worry constantly, it won't stop until you get that license in your hand. You need to go beyond expectations of the professors so you can get excellent references, stay out of trouble, and most importantly you need to take a loan to hire a lawyer from the beginning.


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