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Could I do nursing (BSN) if I have a criminal record?

Posted

When I was fifteen I was charged with petty theft. It was my first crime that I have ever committed at the time (and still is). But I have no excuses for it, and now that I am eighteen—after graduating from highschool a month ago— I want to pursue a career in nursing. I am currently enrolled in my local community college to do my first year of pre-nursing, then I plan on transferring to Chamberlain College of Nursing in Chicago, IL. I know what I did was morally wrong and I have learned from my mistakes (so much that I don't even tolerate stealing from anyone and it makes me sick to my stomach at the thought of even taking from others). I do regret the decision I made, however, I feel as though it made me the person who I am today and I wouldn't change it for anything.

On that note, I'm really concerned if it's still possible to pursue my career in nursing as it's the only thing I want to do in life. I don't want to spend thousands of dollars in tuition money for Chamberlain, be indebted with students loans for a long time, and then be denied my license for that one mistake. :/

Can anyone give me any advice or thoughts on the matter?

Thanks in advance.

SoCaliLVN, CNA, LVN

Specializes in Psych.

I have a juvenile record and as a CNA that hasn't prevented me from working and it won't keep me from getting my BSN. As long as you were not charged as an adult or have an adult record you shouldn't have a problem.

roser13, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC. Has 17 years experience.

I have a juvenile record and as a CNA that hasn't prevented me from working and it won't keep me from getting my BSN. As long as you were not charged as an adult or have an adult record you shouldn't have a problem.

Of course a record will not prevent you from obtaining an education. But I would not be willing to believe that you are 100% knowledgeable about your ability to obtain a license. As a CNA, you do not carry a professional license.

OP, you really should ask a reliable source - for instance an attorney versed in healthcare/nursing issues. And you said "charged." Were you convicted? Are those records sealed since you were a juvenile? All things to know before you consult an attorney.

Yes, I was charged with a misdemeanor but it is considered as a minor offense. I'm not sure I was convicted or not of the crime, considering it was my first crime and the judge was very lenient. I'm not really sure how the legal system works, so I am confused whether or not petty theft committed as a juvenile is considered a "conviction".

And thanks for the advice. I'm going to look into the attorney thing.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

Welcome! Your thread has been moved to the Nursing Licensure With a Criminal History forum to facilitate more responses. Good luck with your future in nursing!

edmia, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, ICU. Has 10 years experience.

In many states, crimes committed as a minor can be expunged. The place to get guidance on this is your local district attorney's office.

Sent from my iPhone -- blame all errors on spellcheck

Yes you can still do nursing. My husband was charged with petty theft when he was 18 years old. He got his master degree in nursing when he was 27 years old and now working without any problems.

Jory, MSN, APRN, CNM

Has 10 years experience.

There is a cheap and easy way to figure this out.

Go down to the courthouse, take your ID. Ask the clerk to look up the charge and she can tell you if there was a conviction or not.

If there is a conviction you need to ask if it was sealed.

Hi kariace,

Here is my situation and you may find it helpful. I have 2 arrests for petty theft (one 8 years ago and one 6 years ago). I was only convicted of the second one (since it was a second offense) and I then got my conviction EXPUNGED (in CA, you are able to get misdemeanors expunged). When applying to school, they did a background check on me and gave me the option to view the report. It showed up with no findings. I have never had trouble getting into clinicals during the program either. I HIGHLY recommend you getting your record expunged, the sooner the better. This means that when you are working at clinical sites, if they ask you if you've ever been convicted of a crime you can answer NO. So I honestly don't think youll have issues getting into a nursing program. The issue is being able to sit for the NCLEX by the BRN. At that point, you will have to show them proof of rehabilitation and any efforts you've made to change your life. Whether that is seeking counseling, doing volunteer work, working with a youth group, etc. Do these things and make sure you can provide proof of it later. I'm graduating soon and my next hurdle is getting licensed. Hopefully I can come back with a success story. Continue to pursue your dream of nursing! It is possible, but having a background will create obstacles in the way. If you love nursing, you will jump through them to get there. Learn from your mistakes and stay out of trouble. Having a repeat or multiple offenses just makes everything that much more difficult.

BuckyBadgerRN, ASN, RN

Specializes in HH, Peds, Rehab, Clinical. Has 4 years experience.

Since Chamberlain is a FOR PROFIT nursing school, I'm sure they'll welcome you with open arms. It's getting LICENSED once you've finished that should be your concern

Yes you can still do nursing. My husband was charged with petty theft when he was 18 years old. He got his master degree in nursing when he was 27 years old and now working without any problems.

BeachsideRN, ASN

Specializes in NICU, Trauma, Oncology. Has 7 years experience.

Just a note .... in some states the BON will still require you to disclose your criminal history even if it was expunged/sealed.