Finding work after school with a misdemeanor as a new LVN

  1. Hello everyone,

    I am located in cali and about to start an lvn program at a tech school. I have put this off for 10 long years because it was that long ago when I got a misdemeanor for petty theft. I was with another person at the time, 17, stupid, foolish and this does not reflect at all the kind of person I am now. I got informal probation for 2 years and some court fines.

    As mentioned I FINALLY enrolled in LVN school. This was very hard and for me took a lot of guts as I have spent so long doing research on the ability to sit for the NCLEX and obtaining my license. I feel confident that I can from what the BON and my school has told me. They said I should be able to obtain one so long as my certified court docs are matching with everything, I'm honest, and my letter matches up with everything when they go through my file and its black and white. My worry is....what happens when I get my license and cannot find work??

    This is what scares me the most and has me on the edge of dropping nursing school. I know you guys are going to say "get it expunged!" But in Cali, misdemeanors are never really fully expunged. Some places do live scans, some do not. Those who do not, I can see getting hired easier. I'm also afraid to pursue my RN. I have seen so many RN's with criminal records be denied at hospitals even when they are supposed to be an "equal opportunity employer."

    I have spent hours, days, years trying to find current articles, watching YouTube videos about this (there's not many) calling around to nursing facilities to see how there hiring process may be and explaining why I am doing it but they never call back or they are always "in a meeting." So I am coming to you, I cannot waist anymore time on this. I live in a small town with only a handful of facilities, there's another town 20 minutes away which is even smaller and only has a couple facilities. If I get denied and run out of options, I cannot just simply move. I need to make it work where I am now.

    Please, I need to know who has been in my shoes, who has been a nurse with a record and how they found a job. I'm running out of financial aid. This is my last shot to go to school and have some aid and if I follow through with this and can't get hired then I simply cannot afford to go back for something else (which I want nothing else). Thanks for your help and advice.There is nothing else I can see myself doing. When this happened as a child I had NO IDEA it would follow me for life like this. I really do not want to settle for anything other that what I have my heart set on now and always. Only positive vibes please.

    By the way I have other than my misdemeanor a completely clean record, not even a traffic ticket. I have been a complete angel since convicted. I have two kids, shes two and he's four. It is really important for me to set a good example for them to follow and for them to be proud of their mamma. Thanks again for your time reading this and your advice.
    Last edit by sirI on Jul 13
  2. Visit santos88 profile page

    About santos88

    Joined: Jul '18; Posts: 5
    from CA , US

    12 Comments

  3. by   newnurse Fresno
    First of all , you said 17. Is this a juvenile offense? If it is I don't even think you have to disclose it, and it cannot hinder you from getting a job. Do your own live scan, it might not even come up. Now if it turns out that you were convicted as an adult then just get the charge expunged. I honestly think you are going to be just fine. You should have seen my past, and against all odds, her in Cali, I got a unrestricted license. I wish you the best of luck. Don't forget to start getting letters from your instructors.
  4. by   newnurse Fresno
    I know that you think getting it expunged wont help, but trust me it helps alot!! once expunged it cannot be used against you for a job, and I have not encountered any one who has had to get fingerprints agian after getting licensed. if its as long ago as you say, I honestly think you will be fine.
  5. by   santos88
    That is so relieving and good to hear. Thank you!
  6. by   santos88
    By the way I was 17 when this happened but I was 18 when my court date came along and I was charged
  7. by   newnurse Fresno
    Do you remember if you went to
    Juvenile court? I really hope so. It makes all the difference.
  8. by   newnurse Fresno
    my son got into trouble as a juvenile, and when sentencing came, he was 18. I asked that he be resposible for his own fine, since he was 18 now. The judge denied my request, and still put the fine in my name because the incident happened when he was under 18. I am really hoping that is the case with you. But honesty, either way, I would go for it. I have spent countless nights worrying about the same things you have. I went for it and now I have my RN. Still waiting to see the results of my background for my first job offer and I am very nervous, but from what I understand expunged charges cant be used against you. fingers crossed and I well let you know how it goes.
  9. by   NurseBlaq
    Quote from newnurse Fresno
    I know that you think getting it expunged wont help, but trust me it helps alot!! once expunged it cannot be used against you for a job, and I have not encountered any one who has had to get fingerprints agian after getting licensed. if its as long ago as you say, I honestly think you will be fine.
    You never had to get fingerprinted for jobs? Most employers fingerprint as part of background checks. Do they not do that in Cali?
  10. by   Sour Lemon
    "Equal opportunity employment" has nothing to do with accommodating criminal history.
    Your charge was one time and a youthful indiscretion. I don't expect that it will be held against you too much.
  11. by   newnurse Fresno
    While I have had a background check tan, I only had to submit the actual fingerprints to the board. Most hospitals that I know here, only run a standard background that goes back about 7 years. Cali has strict background check laws
  12. by   santos88
    This is so encouraging, thank you! So sorry I am just now replying. No, I did not go to juvenile court unfortunately. It happened at 17 and they charged me as an adult as my court date fell after my 18th bday. I am really anxious to hear about your job! Best of luck to you! I am so willing and ready to go for my RN and I am so happy when I hear people landing jobs at hospitals with backgrounds like mine. Fingers crossed!!
  13. by   santos88
    Yes! They are so much more strict here. As a caregiver, I have worked at many senior homes and facilities, and they have all ran fingerprints one me. Only one of them gave me a job, hints why Im so nervous about finding one as a nurse
  14. by   Horseshoe
    Quote from santos88


    This is what scares me the most and has me on the edge of dropping nursing school. I know you guys are going to say "get it expunged!" But in Cali, misdemeanors are never really fully expunged. Some places do live scans, some do not. Those who do not, I can see getting hired easier. I'm also afraid to pursue my RN. I have seen so many RN's with criminal records be denied at hospitals even when they are supposed to be an "equal opportunity employer."
    First of all, I agree with the poster above that "equal opportunity employer" has nothing to do with being compelled to hire employees with criminal records.

    Definition of equal opportunity employer

    : an employer who agrees not to discriminate against any employee or job applicant because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, physical or mental disability, or age.
    Equal Opportunity Employer | Definition of Equal Opportunity Employer by Merriam-Webster

    Second, what do you mean when you say "I've seen so many RNs with criminal records be denied at hospitals"? You know many RNs with criminal records? Or you've read about them here on AN? Keep in mind that most of the nurses who have gone on to get hospital jobs in spite of a criminal history are not posting here. They are too busy working as RNs and living full lives.

    I have not been in your shoes, but I think you got great advice: get this conviction expunged. You have everything to gain by doing so. You made a mistake 10 years ago and have learned from it and not gotten into trouble since. There are nurses who have gotten jobs with felonies on their records. I cannot imagine that you could not go on to become a nurse (go for the RN) with such a long ago misdemeanor on your record, especially if you could get it expunged.

    Good luck to you.

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