DUI & Nursing School | Can I Become a Nurse if I Had a DUI Before?
For many people the dream of attending nursing school to become nurses is closer than they could have ever imagined. Attending nursing school is a prestigious opportunity to gain useful knowledge that can be used in the nursing profession. Some worry that a past DUI can hinder their opportunity to enter nursing school and becoming a nurse in the future. There are many factors that must be taken into consideration before a decision to accept a student into nursing school can be made.
How to Get into Nursing School with a DUI
The mistakes from their younger days do not have to prevent potential nursing school students from getting into nursing programs. Before students can determine if their DUI will affect their chances of getting into nursing school, they should first check with the school to determine if a DUI affects admission.
Many schools do not conduct background checks on students before admitting them into nursing school so it may not be a factor for all students. Other schools may check for a DUI on a background check, but it does not mean that the students will not get accepted into the programs. Many schools will overlook a misdemeanor DUI and allow students into the school. Another redeeming feature may be the time in which the DUI was received. An old DUI will likely not affect admission into nursing school, but it all depends on the school.
Sometimes it may be possible to have a DUI expunged from potential students’ records. Each state has specific laws that govern expunging information on background checks so it is necessary to verify the information with the specific state of inhabitance. Many potential nursing students pay to have their records expunged so that it does not affect their chances of getting into nursing school. This process may be very expensive but well worth the price when students are admitted into nursing programs.
How a DUI Affects Future Nursing Jobs
Many people have gotten through nursing school with a DUI only to find out that it comes back to haunt them during a nursing job interview. Each individual employer has different requirements when it comes to hiring nurses.
During the application process, applicants may likely be asked questions pertaining to a DUI on the application, and they may run a background check on all potential employees. It is extremely important to answer these questions truthfully because sometimes expunged records are nothing more than statements on the background check stating that the DUI is clear. They may still be able to see that the applicant had a DUI in the past.
Other employers may be lenient with a DUI. Some may still hire nurses with a misdemeanor DUI. In most cases, a felony DUI that results in death or serious injury to a person can prevent nurses from getting hired by employers.
It may also be very difficult to get hired by medical facilities that receive funding from the governments. They may have special regulations that prevent these facilities from hiring individuals with any type of DUI. The chances of gaining employment are greater with independent medical facilities.
Some employers may allow potential employers with a DUI to plead their case to their State Board of Nursing. They may offer nurses the last possible opportunity to gain employment from a potential employer. It is always a good idea to check the employment requirements before applying for a job in order to know what to expect during the interview process.
How a DUI Affects Taking the NCLEX Exam
Yes, a DUI can affect their ability to take the NCLEX Exam. One of the questions that they may find on the NCLEX application pertains to legal convictions and board disciplinary actions. A DUI—even a first offense—may affect their ability to take the exam.
Most states require that applicants provide a notarized summary explaining the offense along with a certified copy of the final court documents. The court documents must come directly from the court in a sealed envelope. The State Board of Nursing must review the application before any decision about taking the NCLEX Exam can be made.
A DUI is a serious matter that may or may not prevent students from getting into nursing school and pursuing nursing jobs. A review of the application does not mean that they will not be allowed to take the exam. Each State Board of Nursing may rule differently on a case-by-case basis. Applicants should just make sure that they are truthful on the application.