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How Does Having A Criminal Record Effect Your Nursing Career?

by Tim Brunicardi on January 16, 2019

If you're interested in getting into the nursing industry, you may see that you're required to pass a criminal background check. Why is that? The following blog series will explain why criminal background checks are necessary, how the Ohio Board of Nursing handles them, and how having a criminal record can effect your nursing career. This third and final blog discusses how having a criminal record can effect your nursing career.


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How Does Having A Criminal Record Effect Your Nursing Career?

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Nursing school applicants may have the misconception that because they were able to enroll in and graduate from a pre-licensure nursing program, that their criminal conviction should have no relevance or bearing on the Ohio Board of Nursing’s application process. This information is incorrect as the Board has the authority to deny any application for a nursing license and to discipline a licensee based on their criminal history. This is a consistent standard of scrutiny which occurs for most, if not all, professional licenses. Just because someone completes an educational program doesn't ensure the graduate will be able to secure the professional license being sought.

What Happens If Someone Has Committed Offenses in Their Past?

On occasion, someone who has been convicted of one or more criminal offenses and who may have been granted a nursing license learns that he/she is prohibited from working with the elderly or pediatric population. This is because Ohio's Senate Bill 38 and Senate Bill 160 not only require criminal background checks for prospective employees in specified settings, but also stipulated disqualifying offenses.

For instance, someone who had two misdemeanor theft convictions that happened 10 years prior to submitting their application may be granted a nursing license without any sanctions after the Board's review. However, they may prohibit them from working in a specific facility with elderly adults or vulnerable persons.

Where Can I Get More Information About Other Disqualifying Offenses?

For additional information pertaining to disqualifying offenses, refer to the Ohio Revised Code (Section 3701.881) and the Ohio Administrative Code (Chapter 3701-13).

It is imperative that the person with a criminal history who's interested in a career in nursing have as much information as possible to facilitate making an informed decision before pursuing enrollment in a pre-licensure program. There are three things the Board advocates doing for anyone with a criminal history who's considering nursing as their career choice. First, contact a Board-approved nursing education program to determine the program’s enrollment criteria with regard to criminal convictions. Second, the Board also suggests reviewing the criminal history information available on the Ohio Board of Nursing's websiteLastly, contact any prospective health care facilities or providers that you're interested in working for and inquire about their hiring practices in regards to someone with a criminal history.

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