Will I be accepted into the nursing program if I have a misdemeanor on my record? I was in a terrible situation, and I didn’t do anything to deserve the charge. My story will prove me innocent, but I’m not sure if anyone will listen to me. I’m applying for nursing school. It is a lifelong dream of mine to be an RN.
It is impossible to comment on a specific nursing education program’s approach to students who apply to their program with a criminal conviction, whether a felony or a misdemeanor. Some selected, general comments can be made, however.
The first place to explore about criminal convictions and nursing education and practice is your state’s nurse practice act, including its rules and regulations. The act and rules will supply you with initial information upon which you can build.
If you are going to file an application for a specific nursing education program, it would be a good idea to check their student catalog, either online or in print, to determine admission requirements. Some schools may not accept an application from a student with a criminal background while others may. Keep in mind that most nursing education programs do a criminal background check on all student applicants.
If the school has a policy that does not ban an applicant with certain criminal convictions, the second concern is when you would start your clinical rotations. Healthcare institutions also require students using their facilities to go through a criminal background check and many will not accept students who have a criminal conviction. The policies range from a total ban of such students to prohibiting students with certain convictions (e.g., assault and battery, theft) from clinical rotations.
You would do best to contact a nurse attorney or other attorney in your state who represents nurses and nursing students to get a specific opinion about any cases that have been decided concerning licensure denial when a criminal conviction is involved, about the specific school you are considering, what clinical sites that school uses for their students, and so forth.
Another area the attorney will also discuss with you (if you overcome these, and other possible, hurdles) is if you can obtain a license in the state in which you decide to practice. Several states now prohibit healthcare applicants for licensure, including those applying for nursing licensure, to obtain a license if convicted of any crime while some prohibit licensure due to convictions for specified crimes.
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