Published Jul 28, 2005
Hey, I am new to this site, but so please excuse me if I don't use the proper chat lingo. :) However, I am currently entering my second year of nursing school (ADN program). During this past three week break before Mental Health, I was charged with a DWI. I am currently going through all the legal proceedings. I am pretty certain I will end up making a plea bargain, because they have a failed breathallizer result. I can handle whatever happens with my legal future, but my main concern is how it will affect my nursing career. This is my first time for any kind of violation. If anyone has any information, please HELP! I just need some peace of mind. Thanks!
cardiacRN2006, ADN, RN
In my nursing program, our head nursing instructor told us that we could take the nursing classes, but if we had any kind of crime that we could not be nurses for 5 years after the sentance that was imposed had finished. So, if you were to be sentanced to 5 years (even if it's probation) then you couldn't become a nurse for 10 years. I don't know if that is a state board thing or a nursing school thing....
I know an attorney in my town who represents DWI cases here.
My hospital is a large university teaching hospital and he has represented MANY of the nursing and medical students who got DWI's sometime during their programs here over the years.
Apparantly it happens a LOT here and he has never seen any of them have licensing problems with the Texas BON unless they are repeat offenders and alcohol addiction may be an issue.
Your state board may not be as forgiving and you should contact them and ask about students with a DWI and applying for licensure.
I've worked with 4 different nurses who have admitted getting a DWI at some point but none of them ever had licensure issues with the Texas BON as a result.
caroladybelle, BSN, RN
There are numerous threads (dozens!!!) on this issue. Feel free to use search.
The end result is that you have to ask the BON. Cases are handled on a case by case basis, and no one here will be able to tell you the correct answer...the BON must assess your individual situation and render it's decision.
A lot depends on whether this is a first offense or has occurred before, whether anyone was injured, whether you have any other issues, whether you are contrite. Sometimes they require you attend weekly AA meetings (whether you think that you are an alcoholic or not - as alcohol obviously was involved, AA attendance may be required of you for a time) and random testing is sometimes required. Yes, it is a pain but it will remind you never to do this again, if you value your license.
Some people try to make excuses ("Everybody does it ocassionally", "I really don't have a problem", "I know a nurse that does pot and that's worse", or the ever popular "What I do off duty does not affect my job, so what does it matter".) Fortunately, not everyone does it, if you got caught then you do have a problem, and yess it does affect your license and therefore your job....and making excuses will not impress the BON. And among nurses on this BB, will sometimes raise their ire to no end.
Be contrite, do whatever programs that they require of you and keep your nose clean, and you will do better with BON. And don't ever do it again.
I know you are really worried now, but wait until the outcome (if you are convicted). Also, whether convicted or not be ready to explain what a huge mistake this was, etc. Other things that will influence it: first time in trouble, lessons learned, follow up, etc.
Have never heard that and I lived in Az for years.
As was stated above, you need to contact the BON for your state. They are the only ones that give you an answer on this, since they are the ones that make the final decision. Each case is decided on its own merit.
But one suggestion that I can make, you get another one, and you will be kissing your career goodbye. Take this as a warning. You worked much too hard to get this far.
I agree with Suzanne
I know people make big mistakes sometimes, sometimes very out of character for that person. I am less forgiving when people keep repeating the same mistakes because then I don't view it as much of a mistake. But I really think if you have an isolated incident and have otherwise lead and will lead a more responsible life, then it is easier for them to look past it.
Thanks everyone for the comments. It has definitely helped relieve some anxiety.
Did you go to nursing school is AZ, too? I have lived in AZ for 30 years now, (my whole life) and I didn't know that until orientation for nursing school. Trust me, it was a topic that the head of nursing pounded into us. Any felony-5 yrs + length of sentance.
Drunk driving isn't necessarily a felony, though, is it? Especially for a first offense?
Maybe it's just my school....All I know is that after the dean was done talking to us, I didn't want to drink for the next 2 years. We were scared straight!
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