Below is some general information for people with convictions records who would like to go into healthcare fields, or who were arrested and are currently working in healthcare. It’s best to consult a lawyer around their specific issues and case. Below are some lawyers you can reach out to for support. All of the lawyers below can do legal research and provide general information for anyone in the USA:

 

SWOP-Chicago/CALAFill out the online form: www.calachicago.org/swop-clinic-online-screening, call 312-252-3880 or email meg@swop-chicago.org (Full Legal Services – Chicago)
Sex Workers Project – Call and leave a message at 1-646-602-5617  (Full legal services – New York State)

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

 

In most states, having a prostitution conviction or other misdemeanor not related to Nursing/Healthcare

 

1.) Is not a “barrier crime” to getting a nursing license in any state — in other words, it does not automatically bar the Board of Nursing from issuing a licence.

a.) In most states, the only “barrier crimes” or types of convictions or arrests that automatically disqualify individuals from obtaining a license are crimes related to abuse or neglect or violent felonies.

 

2.) In many states, any conviction or arrest, including prostitution, may be considered grounds for refusal to issue a license. Decisions for individuals with convictions like this are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

a.) State regulations very extensively regarding how they treat these types of cases.

b.) A wide range of factors, including “completion of probation or supervision,” “expungment-non-guilty” “active efforts towards rehabilitation” a “certificate of good character,” or a “certificate of rehabilitation” “character references” and “time since last conviction” are taken into consideration.

  • You can check with one of the legal services listed above for more info on types of criminal record relief available to you.
  • It’s best to do as many things as you can to prove that you are “rehabilitated” — especially, good idea to get character references and other letters of support.
  • Some states do not require you to disclose expunged convictions or arrests that have “non-guilty” results on your licensing application.
  • Some states do not require you to disclose sealed convictions for things that aren’t “barrier crimes” , in addition to expunged convictions on your licensing application.

 

3.) For the most part, how the state board handles issues licensing isn’t “inscribed” in the law/the nursing act itself, or lists things pertaining to evaluation but doesn’t have a specific “recipe” for a “yes” or a “no”. So it makes sense to either:
  • Actually call the Board of Nursing in states you’re considering getting licensed in and ask them to give you general information about how they handle applicants that are similar to you.
    • Or preferably, have a lawyer do this for you — see above.
  • Search online for others’ experiences. For example, http://allnurses.com/nursing-licensure-criminal/ is really great for just getting a sense of what different states do. (It seems like Michigan, Oklahoma, Kansas, & Kentucky are pretty relaxed. Illinois is pretty good. Texas is okay. Louisiana & California really tough/hard).
    • Again, preferably check in with a lawyer on this, since each individual person’s experience are based on a bunch of factors.

 

4.) There is something called the “Compact license” in 24 states. This means that if you are licensed in one of those 24 states, you are licensed to practice in any of those 24 states. Ultimately, what this means is that there is an option to obtain a nursing license in a state that has less draconion policies and ultimately practice in one of the other 23 states.

 

5.) In most states, the Board of Nursing license application will ask if your RN license has EVER BEEN REVOKED, DENIED, or put on PROBATION by any licensing agency. So again, it makes sense to ask the Board of Nursing for their
preliminary recommendations prior to applying, or withdraw your application upon notification of recommendations to deny or give you a probationary license.

 

6.) Individual employers may not hire you because of convictions. However, there are definitely employers that will. Having a record that includes prostitution arrests or convictions, or other non-violent, low-level arrests or convictions should in no way make you “give up” on a career in healthcare.