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Expungement for Nursing Employment or Nursing License

Ohio Expungement Attorney Serving Nurses and Healthcare Professionals

I have a misdemeanor criminal record. Will an expungement help me obtain a nursing license?

Can I go to nursing school if I have a criminal conviction? 

I used to be a nurse but lost my job due to a felony criminal conviction. Will an expungement help me be able to get a nursing job again? 

These are a few of the questions we hear from those involved in nursing or pursing an education for nursing. We have also had nurses contact us who were being promoted to a new position, but their hospital directed them to obtain an expungement before the hospital would advance them into their new position.

Ohio law requires background checks for potential employees in certain careers, including nursing.  Depending on the type of position in which a person will be working as a nurse, they may be required to disclose all past criminal convictions, including those that have been expunged and sealed.

Regardless of whether you will, or will not, be required to disclose an expunged conviction, an expungement and sealing of your criminal record is valuable in obtaining a nursing license or employment as a nurse.  While there are certain criminal convictions (discussed below) that can bar one from being a nurse, there are many other criminal convictions that do not prevent one from becoming a nurse.  Further, the Ohio Board of Nursing has some discretion in disciplinary matters and license applications when considering a person’s past criminal record.

As a result, an expungement of a criminal record can be very helpful for nursing employment.  The Board of Nursing, a nursing program, or potential healthcare employer, should understand that if someone had their criminal record expunged, that person had to undergo the review and scrutiny of a court during the legal proceedings for an expungement to have successfully obtained an Court Order granting their expungement.  The legal process of obtaining an expungement requires that person to be eligible and meet the requirements for an expungement, that an investigation be conducted of their background by the Court, that the court probation officer review the application, that the prosecutor reviewed the case, objections of the prosecutor resolved, that the Court concluded that the person was rehabilitated, and the interest of the person in having their record expunged outweighs any interest of the state in maintaining the record.  In other words, an expungement is a declaration that a person has been through this legal process and a Court of Law has deemed the person worthy to have their record expunged and sealed.  As a result, and expungement and sealing of an old criminal record can be influential at the educational, licensure, and employment levels for nurses.

A Criminal Record Does Not eliminate licensure as a Nurse in the State of Ohio, depending on the crime committed.

A criminal record does not completely eliminate the ability to serve as a licensed nurse in the state of Ohio.  The Ohio Board of Nursing will consider the application for licensure from an individual with a criminal record for certain crimes.  However, other crimes, called “absolute bars” inhibit board consideration and licensure entirely.

Crimes that fall under the category of “absolute bars” consist of one of eleven felonies.  These felonies include Aggravated Burglary, Aggravated Robbery, Aggravated Arson, Gross Sexual Imposition, Sexual Battery, Rape, Felonious Assault, Voluntary Manslaughter, Aggravated Murder, and Murder.  Additionally, if an individual is convicted of any one of these felonies after they become a registered nurse, the Board must suspend the nurse’s license immediately after the finding or plea of guilt.

If an individual has a criminal history that does not consist of one of the “absolute bars,” they are allowed to pursue nursing schooling and apply for an Ohio nursing license.  The application to the nursing school must disclose the criminal conviction, and because different schools have different admissions criteria, they will decide for or against admittance.  Investigation into the criteria for admissions at the specific nursing school with an admissions officer is wise to see if entry into that nursing school is possible.

Completion of a nursing program from an accredited school does not guarantee licensure as a nurse in Ohio.  If an individual has a criminal record that does not consist of an absolute bar, the crime must be disclosed on the application for licensure and the Board will consider licensure on a case by case basis.  The Board will examine the application in a detailed fashion, considering age when crime was committed, whether restitution has been paid, whether the crime included a minor, whether the crime included drugs or alcohol, among other factors.  The Board has authority to grant a nursing license, refuse to grant a license, or grant a license subject to disciplinary action.  The Board will not advise whether they will choose to grant a license prior to attending nursing school, so there is a risk of being unable to obtain a license or obtaining a restricted license after completion of nursing school.  However, there still exists the possibility that the Board will choose to grant a full license, especially if an individual has positively changed.

Nursing Employment may be restricted in several settings if the nurse has a criminal Record

A person with a criminal record may become a licensed nurse and be eligible to work as a nurse.  However, certain criminal records will cause a person not to be eligible to work in certain settings, such as with elder or pediatric patients.  Ohio law (Senate Bill 38 and Senate Bill 160) requires background checks, and establishes “disqualifying offenses” that inhibit working in certain settings.   An example is that an individual with two misdemeanor theft convictions ten years prior to submission of the nursing application may be granted a nursing license, but will be prohibited from working in a setting that provides direct elder care.    For additional information regarding disqualifying offenses, see Section 3701.881, ORC and Chapter 3701-13, OAC.  Federal law also mandates criminal record check when working in facilities that are subject to federal funding.  Issuing of a nursing license does not guarantee nursing employment.

A criminal record or conviction may have different effects at the educational, licensure, and employment levels.  Therefore, when a person first considers pursuing a nursing career, they should educate themselves fully so they can make an informed decision before enrolling in a nursing program. It would be advisable to: (1) Contact approved nursing education programs and ask about the programs’ admission conditions with respect to criminal convictions, including expunged criminal records; (2) Review the Ohio Board of Nursing website (www.nursing.ohio. gov) information regarding criminal history information; and (3) Contact healthcare facilities employers to investigate their hiring criteria with respect to criminal convictions.

In summary, it is always best to have an expungement and sealing of a criminal conviction.  A sealing of your record allows you to have any and all public references to your prior criminal conviction cleared and you court file sealed.  Once your record has been sealed, Ohio Sealing Statute states that the old criminal record should be treated as if it never occurred.  While there are specific conditions affecting nurses and healthcare professionals related to expungement of criminal records, it is always worthwhile to have criminal records removed from the public records.

Expungement and Record Sealing Lawyers – Contact us for a Free Consultation

Our law firm has been in business and located in central Ohio since 1988.  Our law firm emphasizes expungement and sealing of criminal records in Ohio. We have represented students, nurses, and healthcare professionals seal old criminal records.  As trial attorneys and former prosecutors, we have the knowledge and experience to have your criminal record sealed.  We handle cases in all 88 counties of Ohio.

Contact our Ohio law firm for a confidential and free consultation.