Will hospitals or other institutions hire nurses with a criminal record? My partner is waiting for seven years to go by with a clean record before he applies to a nursing school program, but I fear he may be wasting his time if this obstacle is too great to overcome for a career in the health field. There were several misdemeanor charges, some dropped, but no felonies. This was five years ago and he actually served several months in prison/jail.
Fear of Misdemeanors
Dear Donna replies:
Dear In Fear of Misdemeanors,
This is a tough question to answer. If your partner pursues this, there may be several hurdles to overcome. For a person with a record, the hurdles to overcome include getting accepted into a nursing program and whether or not your state board of nursing will allow him to sit for the licensing exam. If a license is obtained, employment as a nurse is yet another hurdle. Read this post by nurse attorney and Nurse.com columnist Nancy Brent, RN, JD, to understand some of the issues and challenges:
I would suggest speaking to a nurse attorney in your state now to address these issues and find out what the licensing, employment and practice laws are for nurses in your state in relation to this issue. The attorney can also tell you about other similar cases that have become before and the outcome for each of them. He can also help to be sure your partner’s record (both online and otherwise) is cleared up if possible. At least this step would give you both a better idea of what you’re up against before moving forward. A nurse attorney (vs. a non-nurse attorney) is uniquely qualified to interpret the laws, including the nurse practice act in your state, as it applies to nurses.
Find a nurse attorney by asking around or getting a referral through your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (whether or not you are a member) and/or The American Association of Nurse Attorneys (www.taana.org).