For those who don’t have a clean record but have high hopes of attending nursing school, there is probably one big question looming over your head. Can you get into nursing school with a misdemeanor? The answer is maybe. I know, that’s not exactly helpful or definitive, but the truth is that getting into nursing school with a misdemeanor is on a case-by-case basis. Schools and clinical programs are all different, with different admissions criteria. So, it depends on where you want to go, what state you’re in, and the type of misdemeanor you have. Let’s take a closer look at whether or not you can get into nursing school with a misdemeanor.
Getting into Nursing School with a Misdemeanor
So, can you get into nursing school with a misdemeanor? Unfortunately for those in this unlucky situation, there’s no clear answer. A Google search for “can you get into nursing school with a misdemeanor?” will show pages of theories, opinions, and tips from industry experts, but no definitive answer because each situation is unique. It may be smart for you to consult with an attorney that specializes in this, as they will be helpful in navigating the legal side of things. Each situation is different, but here are some important things to consider and understand when trying to get into nursing school with a misdemeanor.
Can you get into nursing school?
What was the misdemeanor?
First, it’s important to consider what type of misdemeanor you have on your record. Misdemeanors such as drunk driving, simple assault or battery, and minor sex crimes are going to be more difficult to overlook as opposed to something like petty theft. Remember, the admissions boards at nursing schools have to look out for the safety of future patients you will interact with. Being fully honest about your charge up front will help you through the process of trying to become a nurse, despite your criminal offense.
How long ago did it happen?
Timing will also play a role in how likely you are to get into nursing school with a misdemeanor. For example, a crime that happened when you were still a minor will likely be easier to overlook than a crime that happened recently. If it was 15 years ago and you have no charges since then, it’s hopefully more forgivable. Some schools will conduct background checks when you apply. However, some state’s background checks only go back so many years. So, if the misdemeanor occurred a long time ago, it may not even appear.
Before you apply anywhere, check out your state’s rules with criminal convictions and nursing. Every state varies, so it’s important to understand exactly what rules your state has in place, and whether it will hinder your ability to get into nursing school with a misdemeanor.
Now that you’re aware of your state’s rules, check out the specific rules for each nursing school you’re interested in applying to. Look at the admissions requirements to see whether or not you will be accepted if you have a misdemeanor. If you’re worried that you won’t be accepted based on your background check, research schools that don’t require a background check upon admittance. You can also contact the school you want to attend and schedule a meeting with admissions to explain your misdemeanor. Explaining the situation first-hand will clear up any concerns the school may have, as well as allowing them to see your character.
Say you did the hard work and got into nursing school with a misdemeanor. The next problem you may run into is actually being able to complete the necessary clinical rotations required to become a nurse. Because you get to interact with patients in real life settings, healthcare institutions will conduct background checks on every student prior to starting clinicals. This becomes a gray area because some institutions may accept students with a misdemeanor, while others will not. So even if you made it this far in nursing school, you might not be able to complete your clinical rotations. Check where your schools do clinicals to make sure the healthcare institutions will accept you. It would be a shame to complete all of the schooling, only to be turned away at clinical rotations.
Consider alternate routes
Unfortunately, one wrong decision can lead to a long road of turmoil for you. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Just because nursing laws in your state forbid you from getting into nursing school with a misdemeanor doesn’t mean that other state laws are as strict. Alternately, working as a travel nurse could be another option. With that being said, it’s important to keep in mind that the nursing industry is extremely competitive. Depending on the nature of your crime, it could deter you from being considered for a position simply because there are so many other nurses applying for that spot who have no criminal background.
The answer to the question of “can you get into nursing school with a misdemeanor?” doesn’t have one simple answer. But now you have the information you need to understand the basics of getting into nursing school with a misdemeanor, and what to consider when applying.
Do you have any tips on getting into nursing school with a misdemeanor? We’d love to hear from you, let us know in the comments!