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Pennsylvania and BON background check question

Criminal   (660 Views | 12 Replies)

FutureNursingDude specializes in 7-year First Responder.

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I am a 7-year first responder in Pennsylvania, and I decided to take the step to become an RN after years of emergency scene runs.

My issue I am running into is with the board of nursing and their background check. This story may be a bit confusing, and I apologize in advance - but I want the best guidance possible.

So, several years ago I was charged by the state police. I was wrongfully accused and fought most of the charges in court. I was in a very toxic relationship at the time and took a plea deal for a minor misdemeanor (conspiracy to recklessly endangering another person). I did my one year of probation, and for some reason, the week after I finished my probation my record up and disappeared. It wasn't ARD, but my Pennsylvania State Police background check's always come back "This user has no criminal record". I got my license to carry a firearm several months ago and ran into no issues. The state police are the only one who can conduct background checks in PA mind you, especially for licensing boards.

Now, here is my question. I know on the BON application it says:

"The following questions will be asked by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing and should be answered as “no”. If the answer is “yes”, the applicant should contact the State Board of Nursing for guidance.
“Have you ever been convicted, pled guilty or entered a plea of nolo-contendere, or received probation without verdict, accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) as to any felony or misdemeanor including any drug law violations, or do you have any criminal charges pending and unresolved in any state or jurisdiction?"

Technically I would want to answer "yes" because I did plead guilty to a 2nd-degree misdemeanor (which isn't on the prohibited crimes sheet for nursing) but I read on and they say they want certified copies from the state police and court records to review. If I select yes, then the state police will only be able to display that I have no criminal record - which will likely confuse them.

My question is this... can I safely say "no" to the question since the board only uses the state police for background checks, or should I say "yes" even though nothing will be found - and I can't provide them with the necessary documents since they don't exist?

I have been a first responder for 7-years and I never ran into the issue before. I always selected "no" and provided my clean background check and was hired immediately. My paramedic and RN friends said to just say "no" since nothing can be found on the state level, but I just wanted some others opinions before I do that. I don't want to get in a wild goose for something that I never even did.

Thank you all, and stay safe out there!

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25 Posts; 1,366 Profile Views

I would find a way to conduct a livescan...If you tell them no and it comes back on your federal background you're likely to be blacklisted

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21 hours ago, FutureNursingDude said:

[...]

My question is this... can I safely say "no" to the question since the board only uses the state police for background checks, or should I say "yes" even though nothing will be found - and I can't provide them with the necessary documents since they don't exist?

I have been a first responder for 7-years and I never ran into the issue before. I always selected "no" and provided my clean background check and was hired immediately. My paramedic and RN friends said to just say "no" since nothing can be found on the state level, but I just wanted some others opinions before I do that. I don't want to get in a wild goose for something that I never even did.

[...]

In my opinion, you need to answer the question honestly. You don’t want to answer this in the negative, and then the BON to find it. Which remains a possibility.

Submit the specific criminal background check that they ask for. Then, go to the court in which your case was heard and ask for a copy of the court proceedings and disposition of your case. If they are unable to find any, then the Clerk of the Courts should be able to provide you documentation stating that a records search failed to return any results in your name.

And, be prepared to do this if you apply for licensure in another state. I am in a similar situation as a result of a DUI I was charged with in VA, in 1981. When I recently reactivated my OH and WV licenses, I had to provide documentation of this, even though I disclosed it to both states when I initially applied for licensure in 1996.

Best wishes.

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FutureNursingDude specializes in 7-year First Responder.

9 Posts; 89 Profile Views

1 hour ago, Tigerfly82 said:

I would find a way to conduct a livescan...If you tell them no and it comes back on your federal background you're likely to be blacklisted

I agree! I am getting my federal FBI check done this week, I am getting digital fingerprinted today to just see what comes back! If it comes back spotless like my state police one, I will include both copies into my nursing school application with a brief explanation of the misdemeanor, my prior experience as a first responder, and how it's never affected me and the care of my patients at scenes.

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beachbabe86 has 20 years experience and specializes in Oceanfront Living.

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On 3/22/2020 at 2:12 PM, FutureNursingDude said:

My question is this... can I safely say "no" to the question since the board only uses the state police for background checks, or should I say "yes" even though nothing will be found - and I can't provide them with the necessary documents since they don't exist?

Unless you know for an ABSOLUTE fact that the Board doesn't use FBI ( federal level ) checks, then I would be honest. It will go a lot better for you in the long run.

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FutureNursingDude specializes in 7-year First Responder.

9 Posts; 89 Profile Views

Thanks for the help guys!

I spent the nearly $100 for the state police background check and FBI fingerprint order and got the results today (they never worked this fast). My misdemeanor does show up, and in my student handbook it shows only "felonies could prohibit your licensure" so I will answer as "Yes", provide both checks during my student application (even though they are not needed) in addition to a signed and dated letter explaining the conviction in full.

I have been panicking the past week deciding if I may or may not get approved for the school and in addition to being eligible for licensing, but after reading dozens of threads here, it is best to put all my cards on the table (haha, nursing joke... cards...) and show them I am an honest person, with a long-standing public safety and fire/EMS member here to make the world a better place!

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beachbabe86 has 20 years experience and specializes in Oceanfront Living.

108 Posts; 377 Profile Views

On 3/23/2020 at 6:35 PM, FutureNursingDude said:

I am an honest person, with a long-standing public safety and fire/EMS member here to make the world a better place!

Good to hear. Being untruthful is never a good look. You will never regret it.

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1 Post; 2 Profile Views

Any update. I'm in the same situation

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FutureNursingDude specializes in 7-year First Responder.

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13 hours ago, Undecided210 said:

Any update. I'm in the same situation

Hey!

So nursing school #1 said they have to check with HR to see. Nursing school #2 said it shouldn’t be an issue. And Nursing school #3 said I can enroll and do clinical with no issue!

I applied for an LPN program so hopefully there’s no issue with them.

The BON gave me a generic answer of they will check for crimes of moral turpitude (for immigrants) and good moral character is all.

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beachbabe86 has 20 years experience and specializes in Oceanfront Living.

108 Posts; 377 Profile Views

1 hour ago, FutureNursingDude said:

Hey!

So nursing school #1 said they have to check with HR to see. Nursing school #2 said it shouldn’t be an issue. And Nursing school #3 said I can enroll and do clinical with no issue!

I applied for an LPN program so hopefully there’s no issue with them.

The BON gave me a generic answer of they will check for crimes of moral turpitude (for immigrants) and good moral character is all.

Who ever told you that from the Board is incorrect. A criminal background is just that. Although actually, I'm not really certain you have that in your background. I did look up the rules and regs for RN licensure in your state. Surprised to see all the references to sexual behavior

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FutureNursingDude specializes in 7-year First Responder.

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9 minutes ago, beachbabe86 said:

Who ever told you that from the Board is incorrect. A criminal background is just that. Although actually, I'm not really certain you have that in your background. I did look up the rules and regs for RN licensure in your state. Surprised to see all the references to sexual behavior

This was the exact email:

The Board has the authority to refuse a nursing license where an applicant is:

Convicted/plead guilty/receives ARD for all felonies or misdemeanors involving moral turpitude,

Convicted/pled guilty/ARD of a crime that reflects that the applicant does not have good moral character.

The Board cannot give a definite answer as to whether an applicant may be granted a license with a conviction until he/she actually files an application for licensure. However, here are the things the Board will consider when the applicant files an application:

Nature of the conviction?

How many convictions?

How long ago the conviction occurred?

Is the applicant still on criminal probation?

Was the applicant required to seek drug or alcohol rehabilitation and, if so, did he/she complete it?

Additionally, if an applicant has been convicted/pled guilty/ARD of a crime that reflects that the applicant is addicted to alcohol or chemical substances, prior to determining whether an applicant should be granted a license, the Board may request that the applicant obtain a drug/alcohol evaluation to ensure that there is not a dependency issue.

Because many of these convictions require a review of the crime and the facts surrounding the crime as well as the applicant’s conduct post-conviction/plea/ARD, the Board cannot make a determination without an application pending before the Board.

If the Board determines that an applicant is not eligible for licensure, the application will be provisionally denied, and the applicant will have the opportunity to appeal to the Board and have a hearing.

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FutureNursingDude specializes in 7-year First Responder.

9 Posts; 89 Profile Views

10 minutes ago, beachbabe86 said:

Who ever told you that from the Board is incorrect. A criminal background is just that. Although actually, I'm not really certain you have that in your background. I did look up the rules and regs for RN licensure in your state. Surprised to see all the references to sexual behavior

What I said to the board was I can be a paramedic and be licensed through the DOH with my conviction, I deal with PTs daily already at wrecks, and I can be a law enforcement officer if I went to college for it. I have my LTCF (conceal carry permit) and passed the good moral character through my county sheriff... I don’t see why I couldn’t be licensed as a nurse since so much more could happen as a paramedic or police officer.

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