Ex-con, future nurse?
May 11, 2008 4:49 PM   Subscribe

What are the parameters for a criminal background check for nurses?

I have a friend who's embarking on a career change in his mid-forties, going to community college, trying to get out of the trades and blue-collar work into something better-paying.

He's aiming for something like engineering, but I suspect that may be beyond his math ability, and from what little I know about the field it might be pretty hard to break into it as a novice when you're pushing 50.

I think he might be better suited to something like nursing. This may also be a more attractive career choice because demand for nurses is great and there are multiple levels of entry, including some after just two years of schooling.

I'd suggest it, but I know he had some trouble with the law back in his late teens/early 20s, and I'm not sure if having a record will bar him entry to the field. He's been on the straight and narrow for years, as far as I know.

So before I put my foot in my mouth: I know nurses need to have background checks. Can anyone tell me what the parameters are? Does having done jail time bar one permanently, or are there shades of gray?
posted by Sublimity to Work & Money (6 answers total)
He can contact the Board of Nursing in the state in which he would initially begin practicing and they can provide insight into whether pass offenses would prohibit him from being licensed. There are many variables involved.
posted by Asherah at 5:04 PM on May 11, 2008

My daughter just went through a background check after completing CNA classes and beginning work at a nursing home. They gave her a printout from the state regarding the criminal history they look for. Other than the major felonies like rape and murder, other types of crimes were disqualifiers only if the applicant had been convicted within the last five years.

It's actually kind of scary if you think about it. Due to nursing shortages, the field is very lenient these days in terms of what kind of background is acceptable.
posted by amyms at 8:52 PM on May 11, 2008

Many states also have time limits regarding how long stuff is applicable.
posted by delmoi at 9:10 PM on May 11, 2008

Many factors involved, but most states are a little more touchy about drug offenses than some other kinds of legal problems.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 6:37 AM on May 12, 2008

Asherah has the correct answer. Contact your State's Board of Nursing.

amyms - your broad generalization about 'the field' is missleading. State licensure is different from certification and is quite strict. CNA's are important and valuable to nursing but they are not nurses. They assist nurses. Both job titles involve very hard work, but they are very different jobs within the healthcare spectrum.
posted by dog food sugar at 9:34 AM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

dog food sugar - The state background check information that my daughter received covered all levels of nursing jobs (from CNA to RN). I read the printout myself and I vividly remember our conversation about how weird it was that almost all levels of crime were acceptable as long as they occured more than five years in the past. Sorry my answer seems to have struck a nerve with you, but there are three nurses in my extended family (my mother-in-law is a director of nursing) and they all lament the personnel problems in their field. I assure you my answer was neither "broad" nor "misleading." But, of course the OP should contact his/her own state's licensing board for a more specific answer.
posted by amyms at 10:31 AM on May 12, 2008

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