I was eventually able to get a Vocational Nursing License

by LVN Champion LVN Champion, LVN (New) New

Specializes in Certified Medical Scribe Specialist - LVN. Has 3 years experience.

This is going to be a long post, so bear with me.

In the event that any of you find yourselves attempting to apply for a vocational nursing license or registered nursing license and you have a criminal history background be advised this may delay obtaining a license. The following is my experience with this and how I was eventually able to get a vocational nursing license with 2 DUIs (both alcohol)

My story goes as far back as 2013 when I graduated from my vocational nursing program. After completing a one-year program and applying to take my NCLEX exam, I was informed that the previous DUI that I had on my criminal record would likely delay my application for licensure after passing the NCLEX by a few months. While initially this concerned me, I found solace in knowing that I had put this unfortunate case behind me a few years prior and hopefully everything would be OK.

After I found out that I had passed my state board exam and received a letter stating that they would require more time to review my application due to my past criminal history (DUI - Alcohol), I was simply excited to know that I had passed. I went out with a couple of friends and decided to celebrate with them by drinking. I’m sure you can see where my story is going.

Fast forward that evening I was arrested again for driving under the influence of alcohol. I honestly cannot tell you what it was that made me think I could or should have driven after drinking again, but this is just what happened.

Two weeks after the incident I received a second letter from the vocational nursing board stating the had been informed that I had been arrested and that I needed to submit to them the certified court documents and police arrest records so that they could finish processing my application. My court date was not for another nine months after the incident.

After the court date nine months later I submitted to the board all of the required documents they had requested as well as documented evidence showing I had completed various community services to try and make amends for my mistakes. Four months later I received a reply from the vocational nursing board and was informed that my application for licensure had been denied due to my multiple past convictions and insufficient time passing to demonstrate that I had become fully rehabilitated.

Needless to say I was dismayed by this, but not at all entirely shocked. The letter informed me that I could reapply after one year of the denial letter or I could appeal the letter within 90 days of the denial letter. Seeing as how the board had a fairly good case as to why they didn’t want to license me, I chose to wait the one year.

To speed things along I applied one year later after the denial letter having completed all of my required terms of probation as well as attending multiple counseling sessions. Three months later I received a letter saying I had again been denied licensure for the same reasons stated above. They again stared that I could reapply within one year after the denial letter date. So for the next four years this is what I did, applied for licensure, was denied, waited a year, and applied again.

About two years ago I decided to do some more research on individuals who had multiple convictions prior to applying for vocational nursing license. What I found was a Lawyer forum with a specific thread that detailed various legal licensing issues. A licensing lawyer on that site basically said if any governing entity was monitoring you, the vocational nursing board would not bother considering you for licensure until you were no longer being monitored. For me this meant my being on probation with the state of California. This is when I realized that I would have to wait another year and a half for my probation period to ended before the vocational nursing board would actually consider my application.

The lawyer also pointed out that you had to apply for licensure before 2 years passed after a denial or you would lose your “Testing Status”, meaning you would need to test again.

My probationary period ended in December 2019. I applied for licensure at the end of May of this year, and I received a letter stating I have been licensed by the state of California today.

All of this is to say that yes we are as humans make mistakes. Although it may seem like the world around you is ending and nothing you do is going to help and make it better, don’t ever give up. If my experience can be a lesson for anyone, let it be that this - to persevere even in the most bleak of circumstances. I did a lot to make amends for my past mistakes, I showed this to the nursing board, and they found me worthy after all.

I came to this website back in 2013 and was so sad to not find any conclusive information or updates on other people’s attempts at getting licensed after Bering denied because of their criminal background. I hope this helps someone on their Journey

Good luck everyone!

(As an aside, I started working as a medical scribe in a health clinic about a year after the first denial to keep my medical information as up to date as possible. While I have lost out on some of the skills I learned in school, I have a far better understanding of medications, treatment protocols, and disease processes then I ever did after graduating from my program. If anyone has the opportunity to work as a Medical Scribe (it’s entry level in most states) while waiting to be approved from a nursing board, I highly recommend it.)


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 45 years experience. 11 Articles; 17,183 Posts

Thank you for sharing your long journey to licensure. Recommendation of Scribe position is excellent to hone knowledge of disease process, tests, treatments and medications.

Hope you are successful in finding LPN position now. Look forward to more of your posts.

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