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Ohio Recovering RN with Felony Conviction

JMWalker JMWalker (New) New

Specializes in Psych, Dialysis, L & D, Long Term Care. Has 19 years experience.

Hello fellow recovering nurses and those who support us! I have been clean and sober 8 1/2 years (yesterday, in fact!) and my license was reinstated in 2005 with permanant narcotic and work restrictions. I have had 2 jobs since re-entry, one in hemodialysis and the other in LTC. I was terminated from the LTC job in August 2010 for an unfortunate lapse in judgement that had nothing to do with nursing. I posted a comment on a social networking site that apparently violated company policy and was fired. I take responsibility for this error and have learned a valuable lesson.

I have been actively seeking employment ever since and have been on at least 15 interviews. Several potential employers would have been willing to accommodate my narc restriction but it is a felony drug conviction from 1998 that repeatedly bites me in the rear. I consulted the attorney who represented me in that case but unfortunately it cannot be expunged as I have misdemeanor drug charges incurred after that which precludes me. The LTC facility I used to work at never permormed a background check on me to the best of my knowledge, so that is probably why I got that job. It is my understanding that the Ohio Revised Code prohibits convicted felons from working in many nursing/medical positions.

So you can understand my growing frustration and sadness. I can certainly understand violent felons or those who engaged in elder abuse being prohibited from working in nursing but a non-violent, low degree drug charge?? I am banging my forehead against the wall and feel judged for who I USED to be, not who I am now. It took an enormous amount of effort not only to get sober but also get my RN License reinstated. I am starting to wonder if all the work I did to return to nursing was a huge waste of time. I have considered changing careers and pursuing drug/etoh counseling but again, I don't know if my felony conviction would prevent that as well.

In the meantime, my husband and I now receive food stamps and our daughter is on Medicaid. I need a job to help support my family but feel like I am spinning my wheels and am very discouraged. His income alone is not enough to support the 3 of us.

Any insight or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for reading :)


Specializes in Impaired Nurse Advocate, CRNA, ER,. Has 34 years experience.

Contact the board for chemical dependency professionals in Ohio. Here's their web site: http://ocdp.ohio.gov/

They should be able to answer your question about licensure and previous felonies.

While all of your efforts to return to nursing may seem to be for nothing, I don't see it that way. It brought you to where you are today...clean and sober. Use your experiences to assist others in similar situations (there's a ton of us out there!!). I like your idea of pursuing the chemical dependency counselor idea.

Good luck and keep us posted!



Specializes in Med Surg,.

Dang, you have a double whammy, felony and drugs. You just have to keep on keeping on. Go to another state. There is work out there. I trust there is. It took me a year to find a job and once I did the flood gates opened and others seem to be interested. No matter the problem there are some hireing firms with a sympathetic heart. However, the law may pose another problem for you. I agree with Sir Jack, ask your state board.


Specializes in CRNA, Law, Peer Assistance, EMS. Has 22 years experience.

I know of no Ohio law which prohibits an individual with a felony conviction for a drug crime from practicing as a nurse in ANY setting.

Hello.. I am also recovering..and have a felony conviction for drugs so I completely understand where you are coming from. I'm starting to experience the stigma that comes with the territory of being a convicted felon/addict. Currently I'm using my RN license to work as a Counsel in a drug and alcohol facility. From my understanding an RN license is just as good as Chemical Dependancy Certification when it come to job requirements. I think as long as you are off probation you can seek Chemical Dependancy Certification. Its hard I know but I keep telling myself that the right doors will open up when they are suppose to. Keep your head up. I know you put in alot of work to get your license back so don't quit now :)

I understand your pain. I am going thru it too. I live in PA and have what is called probation without verdict (only good thing is that it will be expunged in 2012) and I received this from diverting from work in 2007. Having a criminal record is hard because no one wants to hire us "bad seeds" (at least that is how employers seem to look at it.) There is something that anyone with felonies can not work in nursing homes...it has something to do with medicare. Good luck and I hope you do better than I have...lol..cause I cant find a job anywhere, doing anything...sucks to be us...lol..I do have my license but it is doing me no good.

catmom1, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Psych, Med/Surg.

There is something that anyone with felonies can not work in nursing homes...it has something to do with medicare.

A further explanation fo what ChristiRN is referring to can be found on the "sticky" at the top of this forum that is labeled "OIG Exclusions list."

Catmom :paw:

I am not on the OIG exclusion list (that would be worse I guess) but nursing homes in general, at least in western PA, wont hire nurses with a record (I am sure there are exceptions to this when a facility is desperate and overlooks). Also I think it depends on how recent it is too on getting a job.