Can You Become a Nurse If You Have Been Convicted of a Felony?
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers Regarding Prior Criminal History and Disciplinary Actions:
The Florida Board of Nursing receives numerous questions from applicants regarding prior criminal offenses.
When the background report has some serious criminal offenses, how long will it take before the applicant will know if he may be certified?
-If the background report has serious convictions it must go before the Board of Nursing for review. It may take three or four months, since the Board meets alternate months.
When the background report is clear, meaning no criminal history, how long will it take to obtain the FBI report, screen it and clear the applicant for certification?
-If the application is properly completed, fees are received, the fingerprint card has no errors, and the background results are clear, it takes approximately two or three months as the FBI report takes at least six or eight weeks to be received from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agency.
How can I help my application be reviewed more quickly?
-The Board of Nursing strongly encourages all individuals with a criminal or discipline history to be fully prepared with information regarding their background and to start the application process early. Applications with previous arrests or disciplinary action on a certificate/license will not be authorized to receive a certificate until all documentation is cleared by Board staff or reviewed by the Board.
What crimes or license discipline must be reported on the application?
-All convictions, guilty pleas and nolo contendere pleas must be reported, except for minor traffic violations not related to the use of drugs or alcohol. This includes misdemeanors, felonies, “driving while intoxicated (DWI)” and “driving under the influence “(DUI).” Crimes must be reported even if they are a suspended imposition of sentence. All prior or current disciplinary action against another professional license must be reported, whether it occurred in Florida or in another state or territory.
-Can a person obtain a certificate as a certified nursing assistant if he has a misdemeanor or felony crime on his record?
: Each application is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The Board of Nursing considers the nature, severity, and recency of offenses, as well as rehabilitation and other factors. The Board cannot make a determination for approval or denial of certification without evaluating the entire application and supporting documentation.
Do I have to report charges if I completed a period of probation and the charges were dismissed or closed?
-Yes. Offenses must be reported to the Board even if the record is now considered closed.
How long is the background report good without needing a new one?
-Twelve (12) months.
What types of documentation do I need to submit in support of my application if I have a prior criminal record or license discipline?
-Official court document(s) relative to your criminal record, showing the date(s) and circumstance(s) surrounding your arrest(s)/conviction(s), sections of the law violated, and disposition of the case. This would normally consist of the Arrest report, the Judgment, Docket Sheet or other documents showing disposition of your case. This can also be referred to as the Order of Probation.
Copy of the documents relative to any disciplinary action taken against any license. The documents must come from the agency that took the disciplinary action
A detailed description of the circumstances surrounding your criminal record or disciplinary action and a thorough description of the rehabilitative changes in your lifestyle since the time of the offense or disciplinary action which would enable you to avoid future occurrences. It would be helpful to include factors in your life, which you feel, may have contributed to your crime or disciplinary action, what you have learned about yourself since that time, and the changes you have made that support your rehabilitation.
Note: The burden of proof lies with the applicant to demonstrate evidence of rehabilitation. Examples of rehabilitation evidence include, but are not limited to:
If applicable to your crime or discipline, documented evidence of professional treatment and counseling you may have completed. Please provide a discharge summary, if available.
Letters of reference on official letterhead from employers, administrators, nursing instructors, health professionals, professional counselors, support group sponsors, parole or probation officers, or other individuals in positions of authority who are knowledgeable about your rehabilitation efforts.
Proof of community work, education, and/or self-improvement efforts.
Court-issued certificate of rehabilitation or evidence of expungement, proof of compliance with criminal probation or parole, and orders of the court.
How will the applicant know if he is not clear to be certified?
-Depending on the results of his background report, he will receive a notification from the Board office requesting additional in formation, or that the Board will hear his case, or that he has been denied certification.
If denied, he will have right of appeal.
If the Board denies the applicant for certification, will he receive any refund of fees?
No, there are no refunds.
What is an exemption?
-An exemption is a process under Chapter 435, Florida Statutes, which allows certain employers to employ those healthcare practitioners, who may have certain disqualifying offenses, if the Board grants the exemption. These offenses, as specified in Chapter 435, are identified by the employer when he runs a background check for employment purposes.
What is the difference between a background check used for employment screening and a background check used for licensing /certification purposes?
-The difference is that all criminal offenses are reviewed prior to licensure or certification, not just a specified disqualifying list. In addition, Chapter 435 does not allow an exemption to be granted prior to certification.
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