Can a misdemeanor possesion charge keep me from getting my nurses license?

Nurses Safety


I am a student who is returning to nursing school this fall if at all possible. I got my prerequisites out of the way and now only have to complete the nursing courses.

Here is my dilemma. Durring my "break" from school, I recieved a ticket for Misdemeanor Marijuana possesion, less than 35 grams. It was a holiday weekend, and I was not high when I got caught. In fact someone had given it to me as a gift so to speak so I took it. I take full responsibility for my actions and acknowledge that it was a stupid thing to have and do. I rarely partook in the past and never do now, but I was wondering if this could effect my eligibility to get my nursing licenture in the future.

It has always been my dream to work in the medical profession, and it bothers me greatly to realize I might loose it over one stupid, non-violent, youthful act.

Does anyone know the Laws regarding this in the state of Missouri, or actions the board typically takes? Does it matter that I work as a CNA and am very well recommended by co-workers and patients? Can I loose my CNA licenture over this?

PLEASE HELP!:crying2:

BadBird, BSN, RN

1,126 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.

I suggest you call your Board of Nursing and ask that question before you invest years into a career you may not be able to become licensed in. Good luck to you.


140 Posts

Wish I could give you some info, but I'm not familiar with the laws in your state. I've had three jobs in the past 15 years, and they all required background checks. I'm not sure what all shows up on those but, hey, BadBird is right. Call the board before you invest time and money.


52 Posts


First thing is you need to contact the Missouri State Board anonymously and find out; I know that some states consider the time elapsed since the conviction but you said "youthful mistake". If you were underage at the time, could you request that your record be expunged? If you are unable to go ahead with your plan for nursing, there are so many other options in the field of medicine that you would probably have no difficulty qualifying for. I have been an RN for 30 years next June and if I could do it all over again, I WOULD HAVE CHOSEN A DIFFERENT PROFESSION. Although I love the human contact, nursing has become a professional minefield of liabilities with very little professional support to help them when trouble comes a knockin'. MDS have the AMA and the Medical Board, Lawyers have the Bar Assn. Nurses have no body of professionals to back them. I would still probably be in the medical profession somewhere but it would be as an MRI, Ultrasound tech, Radiology Tech, Nuclear Med tech,Respsiratory tech or a Biomedical Engineer. So don't narrow your focus and bet the ranch on nursing. There are other opportunities in the medical field that may use many of your pre-reqs and that are just as lucrative as nursing or nearly so and where you will still be working with patients.

Specializes in Rural Health.

They have a web page for these questions but here is the basics

Question: Can a person obtain a license as a nurse if they have a misdemeanoror felony crime on their record?

Answer: Each application is evaluated on a case by case basis. The Board of

Nursing considers the nature, severity, and recency of offenses, as well as rehabilitation and other factors. The Board cannot make a determination for approval or denial of licensure without evaluating the entire application and supporting documentation.

Here's the link the FAQs about it.....

Good luck to you!!!


4,516 Posts

I would sure investigate this too before spending all the $$ and time in nursing school.

Remember extensive background checks are done by potential employers as well. If you get a license what promise will there be you can get a job? Hate to be so blunt but nurses are held to extremely high standards.


439 Posts

Specializes in ED.

Most boards can deny nurses a license if they have a "controlled substance" or illegal drug conviction. However, they also have a process they use to evaluate how serious the offense was and if it merits not letting you practice. I'm also curious, were you just sited or arrested (note: they don't have to take you to jail to "arrest" you)? If you were only sited you may only be guilty of a "summary offense" depending on state laws. If it is a summary offense, it's not the same as a misdemeanor. Things like traffic violations and drunkenness are summary offenses in many states. So if your state boards asks you if you have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor you can legally say "no". Even if it is a misdemeanor, many states let you expunge first convictions on minor offenses.


129 Posts

The problem that you will encounter is that I have never heard of anyone getting a straight answer from the BON. They wan't you to go through school and then they will decide whether or not to liscence you. While I would certainly try to get them to give a definitive answer, I would be suprised if you get one.


62 Posts

As someone earlier had mentioned...even if you do get your license there is no guarantee that you will get a job.

We were told by the program administrators at my school that even if for some reason a person with a questionable background check was allowed into the program there was a very real possiblity that any of the hospitals that the person would have to do their clinicals at could reject that person and therefore effectively render their admission into the program moot. So, schoolwise, you don't just have to worry about the background check to get into the have to worry about the individual hospitals as well. If you make it through and get a license I would imagine you'd have to go through the same thing with potential employers.

Best of luck to you!

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