If you’ve ever been arrested or charged with a crime then you know that it can be a frightening, embarrassing experience. Even worse? The fear of losing the job you love over a mistake.
Unfortunately, those in the medical profession are often held to a higher standard. If you’ve been arrested, then there is a possibility that it can threaten your nursing license. Keep in mind, the specific rules, laws, and regulations governing these issues varies widely from state to state.
For instance, in Louisiana police can and usually will report arrests and charges to the Louisiana Board of Nursing. In some states, only criminal convictions are a threat to a nursing license, while other states require nurses to report on themselves after an arrest. In California, nurses must report criminal convictions to The California State Board of Nursing or risk serious consequences.
Fortunately, except in egregious cases, nurses are judged on a case by case basis. So if you are a practicing nurse and you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime, here’s what you need to know:
DUI, Alcohol and Drug Charges
Arrests related to drunk driving and drugs are particularly dangerous to the career of those working in the healthcare industry. However, this usually does not become an issue until a conviction has occurred, so long as court dates and jail time do not interfere with your work schedule.
Even if you have to report your DUI or drug charge to your state’s nursing board or your employers, that does not necessarily mean you automatically lose your license. If you take the appropriate steps to turn your life around, you may be given another chance. There are even special anonymous support groups specifically for nurses and doctors struggling with substance abuse issues; contact local resources in your area to make contact with these life-saving organizations. If you have been charged with a DUi or drug charge, it’s crucial to do everything you can to address the issue and demonstrate a commitment to sobriety.
While you may have to report a misdemeanor conviction to your state nursing board, that doesn’t mean you will lose your license. Unless the crime occurred or was related to your job, you will most likely be given a chance to make things right. However, repeated convictions will put your career at risk.
How Does a Felony Affect Your Nursing License?
If you are charged or convicted on a felony charge, then you should make immediate plans to disclose this information to the relevant nursing authorities in your state. In this case, it would be extremely wise to hire an attorney for nurses to advise you. Most criminal defense attorneys do not have specific experience dealing with the complex regulations governing these licences, and it’s important to protect yourself.
A nursing license lawyer can’t change the law or make your conviction disappear, but they can help you do everything you can to stay in the job you love.
Can You Get a Nursing License With a Felony?
What if you already have a felony record and what to become a registered nurse? These laws vary from state to state and are always changing. For instance, a 2015 California law now makes it possible for men and women with expunged felony convictions to apply for a California nurses license.