My nursing license was revoked after I pleaded guilty to several felony charges because I was caught stealing from the hospital where I worked. I was incarcerated and have successfully completed my probation. During my probation, I was a full-time student and have taken RN refresher courses. I want to petition for reinstatement. If I get my license back, what are my chances of being hired in a hospital?
Dear Nancy replies:
You should be commended for using your time after your incarceration to prepare yourself for re-entry into nursing. It is assumed you still need to do the clinical work to complete the refresher course. Most refresher courses require classroom and clinical practicums. To complete the clinical portion of the refresher, you would need to have an active license.
You should hire a nurse attorney or other attorney in your state who works with nurses in getting their licenses back. The process is quite involved, especially since your license was revoked, and you need to have all your positive accomplishments emphasized when you do petition to reinstate your license. The attorney will advise you on whether reinstatement is the legal course to take or, because of the revocation, a different legal path is required to regain your license.
Your attorney also will advise you about how the conviction might affect regaining your license. Some states have amended their nurse practice act or rules prohibiting those convicted of certain crimes of obtaining licensure or re-licensure. Other states require a period of time pass (such as five years) before a license can be applied for or regained.
Some employers do employ those who have a background similar to yours while others do not. It really depends on the employer and the type of position you are seeking. As an example, placing yourself in a similar situation where you might be tempted to steal from the employer again would not be a wise move. It would be a surprise if the board did not require, as part of getting your license back you not take a position that might be problematic for you in the same way it was at the time of the initial incident.
You should not be deterred, however, in your quest to get back into nursing. Get input from a nursing organization working with former prisoners, if possible, and certainly get involved in your state nursing organizations. Organizations in your local community that help former prisoners get jobs and return to the community also would be helpful. With a little searching at the local library or online, you can identify these organizations. They do exist and can be quite helpful.
One of the wonderful things about nursing is a nurse has a vast array of working options. You may not work again in a hospital, but that shouldn’t prevent you from exploring new ways you can use your nursing background as you begin this new phase of your life.