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DUI as a student? What's to come?

Posted

Hello I am currently a student finishing up my requisites to get into a RN program. However, I recently made the worst decision in my life, I drove while intoxicated. I had to pay a huge fine and spend a night in jail (this was in WA State). I was wondering how this will affect my ability to be able to even become a RN (getting into a program, being licensed, getting a job, etc...). I feel absolutely terrible and I'm terrified that I just ruined my whole future.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated I know I screwed up badly and I'm sorry if this post makes anyone angry.

Edited by justwondering1

windsurfer8, BSN

Specializes in Psych/Military Nursing. Has 13 years experience.

You very well may not be accepted into nursing school and if you do and you graduate you will have to report this to the state where you will try to be licensed. Good luck. You have officially made your life 100 times harder. Once your name is in the "system" it is always there and the consequences are long term. I am not judging, just being a realist. Life and nursing school is hard enough. Try to learn from this. If you really want to be a nurse you can't make "mistakes" like this.

I know of some hospitals that won't even look at your résumé if you have a DUI. With nursing school being so competitive I don't see why they would select someone who made a decision to drink and drive when they can pick students with excellent GPAs and no criminal background. If you do manage to get into a program and graduate you may be denied by the board to sit for the NCLEX, everything is done on a case by case basis.

It all really depends on the school, the states BON and the individual employer. Check with your school to see how this will affect you for getting into the program. Also check your state's BON to see if they say anything specifically for DUIs. What ever you do be truthful on all applications. It is not impossible to get into Nursing school, but things are going to be more difficult. As you realize this is a decision that is going to follow you for the rest of your life, learn from this experience and make sure that you never make the same mistake again.

NurseRies, BSN, RN

Specializes in Nephrology, Dialysis, Plasmapheresis. Has 7 years experience.

Do you have a scholarship? Or will you accrue thousands of dollars worth of debt? That would help me make my decision. I know of nurses with DUIs but it isn't easy. I know of nurses with narcotic addiction and it isn't easy either... But it's not impossible.

I ask the others, do they expect a DUI to ruin someone's life? I think what's really sad about making mistakes in life when people are young and naive, is that sometimes those mistakes really do ruin lives. People with criminal backgrounds can't get decent jobs, even if it was a one time , non-violent offense.

If it won't financially destroy you, I say go for it! You can't let this set back destroy your ambition. But prepare to have to constantly prove yourself and endure some rejection.

WookieeRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in PACU. Has 3 years experience.

I won't go in on you about how big of a mistake you've made. You honestly are probably bearing yourself up more than anyone else could right now.

It may not affect your ability to get into a program but it could affect 2 things: your ability to go to clinical and your ability to become licensed.

I've hear many stories of students making it through nursing school, only to be denied approval to sit for the NCLEX due to a DUI. One way would be to call the BON and inquire about your ability to be licensed in your state if you have a DUI on record. Call anonymously and they will most likely give you an answer (although don't be surprised if they tell you it's on a case-by-case basis).

In California the BRN will deny you for licensure and then you have to appeal that denial (about a one year process) then they usually settle on a probationary license.. Which entails 3 years of aa meetings, support groups, therapy, Chemical dependency program, and random drug & alcohol testing all at the licensees expense ($$$$). This license also has restrictions on where one can work.. No home health, no staffing agencies, etc. I am going through this right now and it is the absolute hardest thing I've ever had to face. And not to mention its nearly impossible to find a job with all this baggage on my license. I know CA is the most strict state. I heard from one person on this forum that Washington is usually more lenient especially if the DUI is over 5 years old. So maybe you will be in luck if you wait a few years? It is kind of a gamble.. But if your heart is in nursing then stick to it! This situation sucks at first but with time it gets better :) stay positive!

WonderousIvy, BSN, LVN

Has 5 years experience.

In California the BRN will deny you for licensure and then you have to appeal that denial (about a one year process) then they usually settle on a probationary license.. Which entails 3 years of aa meetings, support groups, therapy, Chemical dependency program, and random drug & alcohol testing all at the licensees expense ($$$$). This license also has restrictions on where one can work.. No home health, no staffing agencies, etc. I am going through this right now and it is the absolute hardest thing I've ever had to face. And not to mention its nearly impossible to find a job with all this baggage on my license. I know CA is the most strict state. I heard from one person on this forum that Washington is usually more lenient especially if the DUI is over 5 years old. So maybe you will be in luck if you wait a few years? It is kind of a gamble.. But if your heart is in nursing then stick to it! This situation sucks at first but with time it gets better :) stay positive!

Do you know of anyone with dismissed misdemeanors? I'm finishing my LVN program now and hoping it won't give me a problem later

xoemmylouox, ASN, RN

Has 13 years experience.

You will need to deal with your BON once you are done with school. I suggest consulting with a lawyer when you contact the BON/BON contacts you about applying for licensure. You will want to get someone who has dealt with the BON before.

I don't specifically know of anyone with dismissed cases but I feel like I have read that CA is pretty strict on those too. Obviously it depends on the nature of the crime.. The reason I am in such trouble is because my dui had a BAC of .21... Yea I was a huge selfish dumbass for that I know.. So for that it's pretty obvious the board would punish me. But maybe for a wet and wreckless or a drug charge that was dismissed they would be less harsh. It's really hard to say since the BRN decides on a "case by case basis" (that is their favorite phrase ever). I will say I went to school with one girl who had a dui from like 10 years prior and the BRN did not punish her so it must depend on the length of time that has passed too. Sorry I couldn't be of more help :(

Mavrick, BSN, RN

Specializes in 15 years in ICU, 22 years in PACU. Has 30 years experience.

http://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/6000/ProcedureA21.05.pdf

Here is a link to the Washington Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission decision making criteria for license applications. What kind and when the offense took place makes a difference. Assault, bomb threat, burglary convictions = deny credentials.

I am not sure if this will help but I found this flowchart which breaks down how the WA State licensure board determines if you can sit for the NCLEX or not.

The interesting part to note is, "Exception, if all convictions are over 10 yearsold, applications may be approved by administrative staff." I believe this means that any conviction past ten years will be accepted by the board. Does that sound right?

http://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/6000/ProcedureA21.05.pdf

I got a DUI while actually in nursing school, and I just received the all clear from my BON and take my NCLEX at the end of this month. I know everyone hates the phrase, but they really do decide on a case by case basis. Nursing is my passion and I decided long ago that I was going to do whatever it took to become a nurse even knowing that I would have a hard time (I have a past criminal history as well). I just kept my head down the rest of the way through and never gave up on my goals and here I am. When you send in your application to the board, they will ask you to write a letter of explanation. Just write from the heart and explain the situation and be honest. Ask for solid letters of recommendation from people in authority, and disclose absolutely everything on the application. The rest is up to them, and out of your hands. But if nursing is your passion, you should definitely at least try. Just keep your chin up and keep your eyes on the prize, and good luck.