Monday, June 18, 2012

Criminal History and the Texas Board of Nursing

It is very important to take the right actions when you are a  nurse with a criminal history or a recent arrest and you are going to have to inform the BON:

 1.  Do NOT lie to the Board because this will increase the punishment against you or it may change a criminal incident from a "no action" to a disciplinary action.

2.  If you can, immediately get an expungment or at least an Order of Nondisclosure (sealing of the records).  I love when a nurse has an expungment because it makes the issue so much more clean and easy to deal with.  Even if you can only get an expungment on one of several issues, get it because it decreases the number of issues the Board has to regulate and it helps with employment issues as well.

3.  Get advice from an administrative lawyer who represents nurses before the Texas BON; do not rely only upon your criminal attorney.  Do not say anything or send anything to the BON without your attorney's approval.

4.  Make sure you completely understand the questions the Board is asking on renewal or on an initial application.  You must read the questions every time you renew because they change and you cannot answer based on what you answered last renewal because the question could now require a different answer.  When considering whether to tell the Board about a criminal incident, arrest etc., see Number 1 above.

5.  Do NOT get any type of disposition which is attached to "felony" because receiving a felony in any form, including deferred adjudications which are considered convictions, is a fast way to a revocation of your nursing license.  There are times the BON will allow a nurse to retain a license with a felony conviction but those are few and it is better to get the charges reduced to a misdemeanor.

6.  When in doubt, follow through with hint number 1 and hint number 3 above.