To get a job as a registered nurse in California, an educated professional needs to obtain a nursing license. Professionals have to submit an application to the California Board of Registered Nursing, which reviews the applicant’s educational history and also their professional background, if relevant. The licensing process also involves a thorough background check.
People worry about passing the background check when they initially apply, but already-licensed professionals tend to take for granted that they can protect their careers after getting a license regardless of what happens. However, there are certain issues that may make someone ineligible to continue working in the nursing profession in California. Criminal convictions can cost someone their license and also their job at a hospital or medical practice, for example.
Licensed professionals must report convictions
Unfortunately for those who have a brush with the law while working as a nurse in California, state rules do mandate the reporting of criminal convictions with very limited exceptions. The only exception is when the offense is a minor one. Generally, this means an infraction that only carries a fine of under $1,000. Even minor drug and alcohol offenses will still require reporting.
Even those who qualify for deferred adjudication will still have to report their criminal matter to the California Board of Registered Nursing, especially if the offense involves interpersonal violence or chemical impairment, as there is an assumption that such offenses will impact an individual’s ability to work as a nurse.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon all nursing professionals to avoid criminal convictions, including no-contest pleas, if they intend to maintain their professional licenses. Nurses have the right to defend against the accusations made by the state, and they can also have a lawyer represent them during disciplinary hearings that could result in licensing consequences. As a result, knowing what obligations the state imposes on licensed nurses can ultimately help medical professionals protect the investment that they have made thus far in their careers.