Alex’s heart was pounding in her chest and a dizzying panic came over her as she swallowed hard, trying to listen to the police read her rights to her. All she could think was, why was she so stupid? Her brother said he had accidentally left a little bag of marijuana at her house last weekend, and he asked her to bring it to their parents’ house for Christmas dinner today. At the time, it seemed like no big deal. She put the baggy in her coat pocket and headed out. On her way to dinner, she stopped at the train station to pick up her sister. There were police and dogs everywhere. Suddenly she realized she had a small amount of marijuana on her, and they would smell it. Here she was, being charged with a misdemeanor just three weeks before she was supposed to start nursing school. All she could think was, can you attend nursing school with a misdemeanor?
Can You Attend Nursing School with a Misdemeanor?
When it comes down to it, it’s not so much a question of can you attend nursing school with a misdemeanor, but more so, can you even land a nursing job with a misdemeanor? It would be a shame to pay your way through school only to find out that you can’t actually work as a nurse. Unfortunately for Alex and others in unlucky situations like hers, there’s no clear answer to either question. A Google search for “can you attend nursing school with a misdemeanor?” will show pages of theories, opinions, and tips from industry experts. So, here is a summary of what we learned about the important things to consider and research when trying to pursue a career in nursing with a misdemeanor.
Five Things to Consider About Criminal Offenses & Nursing
So, can you attend nursing school with a misdemeanor? Many things will factor into this, including what constitutes as a misdemeanor in your state, the school’s policy on background checks, and the policies and procedures of the board of nursing in your state. Each situation is different, but here are some things to consider if you are looking to become a nurse with a misdemeanor.
1.What was the misdemeanor?
First, it’s important to consider what type of misdemeanor you are receiving. If it’s a violent charge or drug-related, this could be more difficult for the board of nursing to overlook than something like petty theft. Knowing exactly what you’re being charged with and being fully honest about it will help you through the process of trying to become a nurse despite your criminal offense.
2. How long ago did it happen?
Timing will also play a role in how likely the board of nursing is to overlook a misdemeanor charge. 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.
3. Contact the Board of Nursing in your state
Once you have a solid story together and fully understand your charges, contact the board of nursing in your state and ask questions. For example, find out their stance on misdemeanors and how flexible they are with such issues. It also wouldn’t hurt to seek legal counsel as you go through this process. Perhaps a lawyer will know of a loophole or at least be able to help you construct a well-written letter pleading your case.
4. Does the school conduct background checks?
Can you attend nursing school with a misdemeanor? That depends on what type of background check the school you wish to attend conducts. Some schools do background checks on students while others are only focused on your educational qualifications. Call the school to find out their policies on this.
5. How badly do you want to be a nurse?
The last thing to consider is how badly you want to be a nurse. Unfortunately, one wrong decision can lead to a long road of turmoil for you. Just because nursing laws in your state forbid you from getting your nursing license with a misdemeanor doesn’t mean that other state laws are as strict. Working as a travel nurse could be a way around this. However, 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.
Do you have any tips on nursing and misdemeanors? Are some states more lenient than others? Tell us in the comments below!