How hard is it to get a nursing license if you have misdemeanor convictions?

Nurses Criminal


Hi ! I'm new to this site, so I'm not sure if this topic has been discussed previously. I'm concerned...and embarrassed! I go to an LPN school on the state line of Arkansas/Oklahoma. The school is actually in Oklahoma and they only do a state background check there, which I passed. I've discovered that when I graduate, I have the choice to test for an Oklahoma OR an Arkansas license. I live in Arkansas and plan to work in Arkansas...Arkansas does a state background check and a Federal background check.

Way back a period over 15 years...I was going through a divorce and dealing with being a single parent. I found myself with some small bad checks (4 separate occasions actually...I know its terrible) an on through this period of 15 years. Unfortunately, I was poor and couldn't manage to take care of them in a timely manner and keep the utilities on and food on the table. This resulted in a few arrests at different times, and having to come back for court dates to make payment arrangments with the judge...which I did.

I have looked at the Arkansas list of crimes that disqualify you for licensure...but they are all felonies...and I haven't had much luck finding any definite answer online. I have never had any sort of felony...just these multiple misdemeanors for these dumb checks! Should I be concerned that I will not be able to get licensed? My goal is to finish the LPN program, then do an LPN/RN bridge program...but I don't want to go through years of school only to find that the state of Arkansas won't license me because of some bad luck a few years back in my past. I called the BON but the lady that I'm supposed to speak with doesn't ever seem to be in her office and hasn't returned any of my phone calls (I guess she's busy! The lady I DID talk to said that you wouldn't believe how many felons try to get nursing licenses). Does anyone have any experience with misdemeanor bad checks on their records, or any similar situations? Thanks so much for any information you can give...I'm a little stressed about it!

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questions we seem to be encountering more and more often have to do with the effects of a criminal history on nursing licensure:

  • is it possible to become licensed as a nurse if you have a criminal history and if so, can i get a job?
  • is it possible to become licensed as a nurse if you have a mip, dui, or other related charges?
  • what happens if you are charged or convicted of a crime after licensure?
  • can i go to nursing school and/or be licensed/be employed if my record has been sealed or expunged?
  • what if i have a “deferred adjudication”? will i have to declare this as a conviction?
  • will i be able to go to nursing school and/or attend clinicals with a criminal record?
  • what can happen if i receive a mip/dui/dwi or other charge while still in school?

these are questions that the members of cannot answer. the only reliable source of information is your state board of nursing.

if you are currently licensed as a nurse and have been charged with or convicted of a felony or misdemeanor including dui/dwi or any criminal offense, you need to contact the bon in every state you hold a license/wish to be licensed and ask their reporting requirements.

if you are a nursing student or are interested in becoming a nurse you need to contact your bon and/or your school of nursing directly. you need to be completely candid with them as to the nature and disposition of the crimes. each board of nursing makes a determination on a case by case basis and some are willing to issue a declarative statement in advance.

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