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August 29, 2007


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i am a looking into being a rn and i have had 2 or three felonies but they r 21 yrs old i havent had any trouble since should i try and apply for nursing schoool
i am 46 and the crimes were when i was 20



Thank you for the comment. I am planning to incorporate your comment into a post on scope of practice issues.


I had my recent run-in with this myself, and sent me into depression. No one was hurt, and intentions were good. The autonomy was the problem, now I am on 12 mo probation. I am fortunate to have a letter of explanation from the physician involved, wish it would have been more inspirational with BON. What I find to be a problem is nurses trained to practice out of their scope, a friend of mine autonomously performs laser treatments on patients with vericose/spider veins, works as a extender with cardiovascular surgeon. She is ADN. I am a organ transplant nurse who had a lot of gray area in my scope. We did bedside ICU liver biopsies autonomously non-imagery guided. The Hepatic Transplant Surgeon in charge taught us by return demonstration. We also performed surgical bedside biopsies to inguinal lymph nodes (first step was to identify, isolate and NOT cut an arteriole from the femoral artery). Also we initiated orders for echo, bronchoscopy, no need to consult the docs. There is absolutely no specific protections or legislation for this field of nursing. Though they are expected to perform as an advance practice nurse and it is considered a specialty field, there is nothing to protect these licenses. There were biology BS grads also doing the work with much more needed training due to medical management, and no license to reprimand (this seems to me to be an injustice). UAP lose their job, and licensed profesionals are scarred with a provision on the National Health Care Registry. Any suggestions how to initiate something like this? I am hurt but feel like I want to help others from learning the hard way. BTW, loved the post you did on "SNT - beware out to get you" heads-up. We are so unprotected as a profession, and something needs to be done. So many go to "White collar nursing" in administration to protect themselves or escape stress, and it is not helping the patients whose care suffers.



Thanks for your comments. This is not correct. Not all Nursing Boards inquire about expunged convictions. That's why its important for nurses and nursing students with criminal convictions to consider consulting with a licensure defense attorney prior to applying for licensure, endorsing, or renewing.

Angela Smith

If its meant for you to be a nurse you will. Alot of people are just in it for the money anyway. Before you did the crime you should have thought about your future.

Angela Smith

Why apply for nursing school if you have an conviction anyway? Why speak with an attorney anyway? You are just setting yourself anyway. Even if you had your conviction expunged the board can find about only employers can't.


Thank you for the post Angie. I am glad to hear you are licensed.

There is nothing wrong with prayer and begging for mercy however I still think nursing students with criminal convictions should contact a licensure defense attorney BEFORE submitting an application for licensure to a State Board of Nursing to discuss licensure options, suitability for licensure, and employability. Each State Nursing Board evaluates criminal convictions differently and you need to know this before you apply for licensure. What's the use of having a nursing license if you have a Consent Agreement, Agreed Order, Order, or other Board of Nursing action against your license that is "so restrictive" that you can't find employment as a nurse?

angela smith

I have a criminal conviction in 2003, I graduated nursing school in 2006, paid to sit for the NCLEX in jan07, I wrote a letter explaining what I did. The board didnt approve for me to take the boards until June 07, I took the passed only had the least amount of questions which was 85. The board didn't give me my license until Oct.07, but the only way they would give them to me if I signed an consent agreement: 2yrs. probation, 5yrs restriction, 10 hours of Nursing Laws, Professionalism education, reporting any changes in 30 days, report to the board before I accept employment, employer reports every three months. And the only thing I did was put sugar in ex-boyfriend car and a friend of mine he was cheating on me with when I was 9 months pregnant, and I had made a couple of harassing phone calls. The only thing I can say to others with convictions just pray, let the board know before they check your record and be totally honest. And when they give you the chance don't mess up that's what they're waiting for.



Thank you for posting. I cannot give you legal advice. I would however suggest that you contact a nurse attorney who represents nurses and nursing students before the Board of Nursing in your state. Contact Tracey Singh, RN, JD, who practices throughout NV representings healthcare professionals and has a law office in Las Vegas.


I'm going through this right now. I found out I have an old warrant from 2003 in Nevada, which is where I'm supposed to be moving in 2 WEEKS! I've just graduated nursing school, and I was going to sit my boards in NV. However, I'm afraid this charge will ruin my career. I called the BON direct and told them my story, and they say that I should still get my IP, and worst case, I may have to go before the board, but they do a "case by case" review. Should I risk it, or just stay put in another state? I want to take care of it, but I don't want to move my kids across the country to wait tables after busting my butt in school......


I don't think anyone realizes how difficult can become (depending on the state nursing board) to obtain an unrestricted and unemcumbered nursing license and find employment with certain criminal convictions.

K. Chadwick RN

Dear Latonia, I accidentally stumbled across your website through the Dear Donna Column in Nursing Spectrum. What an informative blog you have. I never knew there was a specialty as Nurse Attorneys much less what you cover. I started to read the topic on Nursing Students and Criminal Convictions. This never crossed my mind in the 28 years I've been an RN. Now I find my self looking for another nursing position status post DIVORCE. My ex husband had me charged with 3 counts of contempt of court and 1 count of Harassment. Our divorce was a "domestics" when I tried to contact him for support money that is when he retaliated. He was very mentally abusive even had his girlfriend fill out my child and spousal support checks. I have had to explain this each and every time I have filled out a job application and went for an interview- there have been several, and when I have renewed my nursing license. I never thought my "dirty laundry" would be aired to the Nursing profession. The real bite is- contempt of court one can get if they don't pay a traffic ticket and with 11 girfriend filled out checks who was Harassing who- The $32,00.00 past due bills and the kids were OURS. My heart goes out to those young nursing students!

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