Nursing school is notoriously difficult to complete. Graduates then have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) before becoming eligible for a professional license. The Florida Board of Nursing, of course, has the ultimate say as to who receives a professional license.
Given how challenging nursing school is and the hoops you have to jump through to secure a license, it’s unlikely you’d want to put your career in jeopardy. A criminal conviction on your record may deprive you of your professional license and thus your livelihood, though.
If you don’t tell the board about your record, they’ll still find out
Many nurses make the mistake of assuming that the approval of their professional license is nothing more than a formality. They assume that if they pay their fee, then the renewal will be automatic. That’s not how things work, though.
The board performs background checks on both new and existing applicants. A criminal arrest on your record may result in you not receiving your license renewal — even if you haven’t been convicted. Most licensing boards require you to notify them of an arrest or conviction within a certain amount of time.
You can expect the licensing board to reach out to you to ask additional questions about your charges. Certain crimes, such as fraud or substance abuse, may limit your ability to secure a renewed license, especially depending on the nature and recency of the charges.
If you are convicted, the board may also require you to show proof of completed sentence and rehabilitation before issuing a license, although some convictions may result in the automatic revocation of your professional license.
Do I have any chances of saving my professional license after a criminal arrest?
An arrest and a conviction aren’t the same. You’re presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. You owe it to yourself to craft a strong defense against the charges that you’re facing. It may make all the difference in terms of whether you end up losing your professional nursing license or are able to retain it.