I had a great question regarding problems with prior issues with the law, and how that may affect the chances of becoming a nurse. Here is the question:
I am so excited about becoming a Registered Nurse RN. I’ve currently been applying to a couple different programs, but i am worried about the background checks!!
Is it possible for the board of nurses or any programs to reject me of class c misdemeanors from 5 yrs ago? I’m so upset and worried that this will stop me.
Please help, I don’t have anyone to ask.
Hello Laura! That is a great question, and I will be happy to try and answer it the best that I can =). We all make mistakes, and sometimes our past behavior can affect us in the future. First just let me say that I don’t think this would probably affect you schooling too much. The only concern you may have is the actual licensing and employment.
What Is a Class C Misdemeanor Anyway?
First off, each state can sometimes classify its “Misdemeanors” differently. So what may be classified as a type C in one state, may not be so in another state. So please keep in mind that whatever offense you may have committed, it may vary in terms of how it is recorded against you from state to state.
So the first thing I would advise is to find out how your own state handles Class C Misdemeanors, and whether or not they post this offense to your background record. If they don’t, then it shouldn’t show up during a background check. If so, then yes, it could very well show up.
Can a Class C Misdemeanor Affect Your Nursing Career or Nursing School?
Maybe, and maybe not. What it really depends on in this situation would be the following:
- Did the offense post to your background record?
- What was the actual offense? (Theft, drunk driving, etc.)
- What does your state laws have to say about this?
If you do indeed have the Class C Misdemeanor posted to your record, it may affect how an employer views you when you are applying and interviewing for a job.
Some states may even require that when you apply for a Nursing License from the state boards, you may be required to not have any prior felonies, etc.
Keep in mind that sometimes states, and employers will place a question on the application that asks, “Have you ever been convicted of a Felony, Misdemeanor, etc.” So you want to keep that in mind.
Should You Give Up On Your Dream of Being a Registered Nurse (RN)?
It sounds like you really want to be a nurse very badly. I think it is great and I want to stress that you shouldn’t let this past mistake keep you from pursuing your dreams.
We have all made a mistake at some point (whether it be a traffic ticket, or whatever). We have all done wrong. So don’t feel bad about that.
With that being said, I do have a few recommendations on how you can find out if this is posted on your record, and if so, what you can do to ensure that you can pursue your dreams and goals of becoming a Licensed/Registered Nurse.
How To Find Out if You Have a Misdemeanor On Your Record, and How to Resolve it
To find out if the Class C Misdemeanor was posted to your record, you can do the following:
- Call the local courthouse, or a local attorney and find out if your state posts that information.
- Run a background check on yourself (many companies can do this for a fee), and see if it shows up.
Once you do that, you should know whether or not this posted to your record. If it didn’t, then you probably have nothing at all to worry about. If, however, this did post to your record, here are some things you can do:
- Look up your local state’s requirements on Nurse Licensure. It should say if there are any requirements and if any past legal trouble can affect your qualifications for that state.
- If the Class C Misdemeanor isn’t a problem with getting licensed with your state, then I wouldn’t worry about it. People will still hire you with this on your record if they can. Especially if you are upfront and honest and explain that you made a mistake in the past and have changed.
- Speak to a lawyer to find out if there is any way at all you can get this removed (or expunged) from your record. Sometimes there are legal options you can do to remove these past offenses permanently from your record.
Conclusion: Becoming a Nurse with Past Legal Trouble
If you are passionate about nursing like I suspect you may be, then you have several things you can do to ensure you realize your dream of becoming a nurse.
Don’t let your past mistakes discourage you from achieving your current dreams. I hope the information I provided here has given you a good start, and that everything works out for the best.
Thanks again for the question, and best of luck to you! =)