You will have to answer questions about your criminal history and license discipline when you’re renewing your nursing license. The reason for asking questions about a nurse’s criminal record is not to pass judgment. Because you have the tremendous responsibility of caring for the public, people must have a high degree of trust in your profession. That trust can erode if a nurse isn’t open about past mistakes.
When do I have to report an encounter with the police?
In California, you’re required to report any crime that led to a conviction and discipline taken against your nursing license. You do not have to report an arrest if things didn’t progress beyond the arrest. A conviction includes:
- Crimes charged as infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies
- Pleas of no contest
- Convictions that have been set aside or deferred
You do not have to report an infraction where the fine is less than $1,000 unless the offense involved alcohol or drugs.
The coverup can be worse than the crime
It’s the job of the nursing board to determine whether a run-in with the law and any subsequent disciplinary action will impact your ability to provide nursing care. Whether you consider the matter significant or not is of no consequence. Mostly, the board is looking for honesty. If you can admit your mistakes and show that you’ve taken steps to improve, the board may be more forgiving. Of course, much depends on the severity of the offense.
You should discuss any concerns you may have with a skilled legal professional. You can learn more about the impact a criminal conviction can have on your nursing license and your options for addressing any potential issues.