Should I apply for a nursing job with a pending DUI?

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Should I apply for a nursing job with a pending DUI?

Dear Nurse Beth,

I took my NCLEX in March and passed and received my license number from NY. However, I have a pending DUI case right now from an incident in February. Since I haven't been charged with anything, do you think I should apply and secure a nursing job now or wait until this whole process is over, which could be as long as a year from now? Thank you in advance!

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Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

174 Articles; 3,073 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development. Has 30 years experience.

 Dear Should I Wait?

Congrats on passing the NCLEX!

Unfortunately, you are now in limbo, waiting for your case to be reviewed, charges to be filed, or even for your case to be dropped.

Whether or not you move forward and apply for a job is a personal choice depending on how likely it is you will be charged and convicted, the severity of the charges, and what decision you will feel good about making.

 There are pros and cons to applying for a job with a pending DUI case, and I can help you look at those.

Pros to applying and not disclosing

There are consequences to not securing a job as soon as possible as a new grad. The first 12 months are when you are accorded new grad status. It's the golden window of opportunity for eligibility for a residency program. 

Once that year is up, you are no longer a new grad but a nurse without experience (not a good status from an employer's point of view). It's to your benefit to land a job sooner rather than later.

You are only required to include your arrest on a job application if you are specifically asked about arrests, as opposed to convictions. However, it could still come up in a background check and be unofficially used against you.

If you are hired, and charges are never filed, you will have successfully started your career.

Cons to applying and not disclosing

If you land a job, and then are charged and convicted, there will be discipline from the NY BON for professional misconduct, up to and including suspension of your license.

Your employer could then terminate you or choose to work with an alternative to discipline (ADP) treatment program if offered by the BON.  

The time invested in your orientation and training would be a loss on the part of your employer, and they may not look kindly on the fact that your case was pending when you applied for the job.

Applying and disclosing

If you decide to apply for Nursing Jobs, you could choose to be transparent with potential employers about your situation.

This could include disclosing the pending DUI case and being upfront about the circumstances surrounding the incident. Honesty and transparency help build trust and demonstrate your willingness to take responsibility for your actions.

If you choose to disclose, do it after the job offer.

BON self-reporting

The potential consequences to your licensure are very serious.  Have you self-reported to the New York BON? In general, RNs have a legal and ethical obligation to report any criminal charges or arrests to their licensing board.

Contact the NY BON for self-reporting requirements and consult with a nursing license defense lawyer to find out if you have to self-report your arrest or only charges and convictions. Be sure and retain a lawyer who specializes in nursing licensure and has experience with the NY BON.

Ultimately, the decision to apply for nursing jobs while your DUI case is pending is up to you, and it's important to weigh the potential risks and benefits carefully. 

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

Specializes in Nurse Attorney. Has 47 years experience.

New York does not require self-reporting of convictions until licensure renewal.


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Specializes in Oceanfront Living. Has 23 years experience.

Go ahead with your life and plans to seek employment.