I made one stupid mistake as an 18 year old senior in high school and got arrested for petty theft. Now 11 years later, I completed my BA, served several community organizations, became a "productive" citizen, and most importantly never got in trouble again. Now I want to pursue another bachelor's in nursing. Unfortunately, my record couldn't be suppressed as a minor because I had just turned 18 three weeks before. My grades are pretty good (3.7 in my first BA, 4.0 in my prereqs) and I have extensive volunteer experience. I'm just really afraid that one mistake will ruin any chances I have of being a nurse. Is an arrest an automatic disqualification? Will any hospital even hire me? Does anyone have any advice on what will happen or what I should do? Should I just give it up? Do I actually stand a chance?
Nov 11, '05
i doubt it, i have traffic infractions, ie dwi from 2 years ago and i called board of nursing and they said it would not be a problem, make some calls my friend, everyone makes mistakes.
Nov 13, '05
I'm a nursing student and about to graduate in December. My story is very similar like yours. But last week when I had a job interview, the nurse recruiter asked me if my criminal past involved weapon. I said no and that was it. She offered me a job on the spot. I was charged four years ago with a misdemeanor of burgary. Of course I had to disclose all of this to the BRN and the school where I'm attending.
Nov 20, '05
contact a good lawyer and see if you can get it expunged. I did.
Nov 20, '05
First thing you should do is check the web site for the Board of Nursing in the state you live. Most BON sites now have a link to their state nursing law. By checking their law you will know immediately if this is something that must be reported to the state board. For example, I live in California and the state of California nursing law has nothing in it preventing anyone with any kind of criminal past applying for a nursing license. However, on the web site the board clearly states that your question is a common one and they do ask about prior felonies when you apply for a license here, but the board says it handles each case on an individual basis since there is nothing in the California nursing law to prevent someone from applying for a nursing license. Obviously, they are not going grant a license to someone with, let's say, a murder conviction. So, check out how your state board of nursing handles this. State boards establish a set of guidelines to help them interpret nursing laws and sometimes they will print those guidelines on their web sites. As I say, your question is a very common one.
Second, the other problem you might have with this is with the hospitals where you will do your clinical work as a student or as an employee. Some hospitals require any potential students coming through their doors to have a criminal check done. Others won't. I may be wrong, but I think that most state boards of nursing are requiring fingerprint checks nowadays as well.
Make sure you understand the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor and exactly which is on your record. Some state boards and potential employers will only ask if you have any prior felonies and are not concerned about misdemeanors. Others want to know about both except for traffic tickets. Some are specifically concerned about misdemeanors or felonies involving drugs or alchohol.
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