Can a felon become a nurse?
It’s undoubtedly one of the most asked questions around the world.
Now, let’s be real here. If you are an ordinary citizen, you are free to choose whatever profession you desire. And that includes nursing as well.
Nursing is one of the most popular professions worldwide. That is not the case for felons. Once your name finds its way to the criminal list, your life changes to a great extent. You are not the same person anymore, at least, to the eyes of the government.
Even if you’ve learned from your mistake and are a changed man, you are still seen from a different viewpoint. Thus, it is a no-brainer that you will face certain restrictions.
But now the question is, do they affect you becoming a nurse as well? Would one of your past mistakes decide your present or future?
Let us take a look.
Cons Of Being A Felon While Searching For A Job
Suppose you have gone through a period of great repentance and are truly ashamed about past deeds. Now, you want to start your life afresh. You want to get a job and want to live a decent life. But is getting a job with a criminal record easy?
It is not. Once your name gets a criminal record, your life is bound to become harder. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve changed or not. In the eyes of the law, you are still a suspicious individual. So while looking for a job with a criminal record, be prepared to face certain difficulties.
Everyone indeed faces some difficulties finding a job. But one cannot compare them to the difficulties a felon would face finding that exact job. They don’t even belong to the same category.
And, when we’re talking about the medical field, it becomes all the more difficult than other fields. Now, nursing is a profession where one has to look after an individual personally.
So a nurse gets access to certain sensitive personal information of that individual. That’s why choosing felons as nurses may seem problematic to some people. It is also a known fact that the hospital authorities demand nurses to be honest and moral.
Now, to be honest, felons lack both of these qualities. That’s the reason why they committed a crime in the first place, right?
Never Give Up
Now, we’re not saying that felons cannot change at all. They definitely can. But whether you like it not, your felony will haunt you forever. People will view you from a negative angle. That is also true for the nursing school authorities. And, for this reason, they might reject you in your efforts to take admission to a nursing school.
We know it is not fair, but we cannot help it. It is what it is. Thus, you should always contact the State Board of Nursing before trying to take admission in a nursing school. It will help you learn about the criteria for admission to that particular school.
Case Study – A Story Of Success
As we mentioned earlier, being a felon can present many problems in your way of becoming a nurse. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot become one. If you are passionate enough, you too can become a nurse like an ordinary citizen. The road to success however will be a lot more difficult.
Now let us look at one Lisa Creason who defied all odds to get her desired job as a nurse.
When Lisa was only 19, she was found guilty of attempting a robbery in the state of Illinois. By that time, she already had a baby to take care of. But she did not have the money to do it properly. That’s the reason why she was in urgent need of a lot of money for her baby.
Therefore, one fine day, Lisa decided to rob a shop. According to her plan, she went into a Subway store and demanded money from the store’s cashier. But she was not successful in her attempt and was caught by the police.
As a result, she went to jail and served one year there. While it was a considerably little time, its impact was much bigger. Her reputation suffered a huge blow because of this conviction. So she couldn’t get any professional certificate.
Hard Work Pays Off
By 2005, Lisa wanted to be a full-time nurse. She even earned a nursing assistant certificate and worked for some time at a nursing home. Later, she enrolled herself in an essential nursing program. In 2012, she secured a place in a community college nursing program. She didn’t know that some changes in the law took place that affected felons looking for healthcare licenses.
In the previous year, the law prohibited felons from obtaining this license. A few years earlier, Creason applied to sit for the board tests. Now suddenly, she came to know about her ineligibility.
She didn’t however admit defeat. She took her fight to the Capitol and argued in favor of changing the law. Her efforts were not futile. In 2016, the US government passed a bill allowing felons to obtain healthcare licenses. Certain terms and conditions would be in effect.
She sat for the board test in 2017 and cracked it on her first attempt. Today, Lisa’s earning as a professional nurse has doubled up. She doesn’t need any help in this regard and no longer needs to find a second job to scrape by. Now, that’s a real success.
What Steps Do You Need To Follow To Become A Certified Nurse?
Now, let us discuss the steps to follow if you want to become a nurse:
- First things first, know where you stand before pursuing a nursing career. You must be financially stable to invest big in your education.
- Also, don’t forget to check the law of your respective state. Some states bar felons from obtaining a professional certificate.
- Conduct a little research first.
Type Of Crime
1 The law will decide your restriction based on the type of crime you committed.
2 Some crimes may bar you from getting certain jobs. That is true in the case of nursing as well.
3 The board will take the final call on whether you are a safe choice to become a nurse or not.
- Expunging your record can be a great idea. It will help you become a nurse more smoothly.
- Consult an advocate on whether it is possible to get your record sealed or not.
- Expunging your record is more likely if your arrest never led to charges however expunging your record is not all.
- Background checks can reveal your arrest record, and you might have to explain. So prepare yourself for such situations.
Enrolling In A Nursing Program
1 Another thing you must consider is to enroll in an accredited nursing program. It will help boost your credentials while applying for the position of nurse.
2 Remember that being honest with the school authority about your criminal record is the key here. It will boost your image as an honest individual. Otherwise, the administration may disqualify you if the background check reveals your untold conviction.
3 And lastly, apply for a healthcare license. If the state board authority approves your application, you can sit for the board test. You would receive your license on cracking it successfully.
As you can see, being an ex-criminal doesn’t mean you can’t start anew. If you vehemently desire to become a nurse and are not afraid to face challenges, you’re bound to succeed. So brace up and get to work. Do the needful. Good luck.