The New Jersey expungement attorneys at Katherine O’Brien Law frequently handle expungements for nurses and nursing students in New Jersey. If you are currently enrolled in nursing school, are contemplating becoming a nurse, or are otherwise applying for a licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in New Jersey, you most likely have questions about the criminal background check requirement.
Nurses are often tasked with caring for those who are vulnerable to abuse or mistreatment. As such, it is especially important for nursing boards to screen those individuals who have a history of violence. In addition, nurses are often charged with handling prescription medications. For those individuals who have a history of substance abuse, this can obviously pose problems. According to a 2009 study that was conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, nurses who had a prior criminal history were almost twice as likely to undergo future disciplinary action as compared to those with no criminal record.
Thus, in addition to successfully graduating from an accredited nursing program of study and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), in order to obtain or maintain a license in good standing with the New Jersey Board of Nursing (BON), you will have to pass a criminal background check. This is because the Health Care Professional Responsibility and Reporting Enhancement Act, located at N.J.S.A. 45:1-30 et. seq., requires that all health care professionals licensed or certified by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) undergo a criminal history background check as part of the licensing process. Since RNs and LPNs are both licensed by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, they therefore must undergo a criminal background check when applying for a license with the New Jersey Board of Nursing.
In fact, before you are admitted to a nursing education program in New Jersey, that program is required to inform you that a criminal history background check is a prerequisite for licensure as a registered professional nurse or a licensed practical nurse. While a criminal history does not necessarily mean that you cannot become a nurse, it may mean that extra work could be involved in the application process and, if your record has not yet been expunged, it could cause licensing delays. Thus, if you are thinking about becoming a nurse or if you are in the early stages of nursing school, it is highly recommended that you expunge any criminal records immediately, so as to prevent any licensing delays.
The best way to overcome a criminal record if you are applying for a nursing license is to be prepared. If you do have a criminal record, we recommend that you request an FBI background check and/or consult with an expungement attorney as early as possible in your decision-making process so that you can be sure that your record is clear. It is vital that you not wait until the last minute to do this. Obtaining an expungement in New Jersey can be a lengthy process. Currently, expungements are taking approximately six months to complete (with certain special types of expungements, such as early expungements or more complicated petitions taking even longer to complete). Thus, the earlier you can address your record, the better.
Experienced New Jersey Expungement Lawyers for Nurses and Nursing Students
The New Jersey expungement attorneys at Katherine O’Brien Law frequently work with nurses and nursing students to handle their expungements. If you were able to successfully expunge your criminal record well enough in advance, your criminal history should no longer pose any problems when it comes to obtaining your nursing license. This is because pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:168A-3, state licensing authorities are precluded from disqualifying or discriminating against applicants whose criminal records have been expunged.
If, on the other hand, your criminal history has not yet been expunged, you may have been advised by your nursing program that an expungement is required before you can proceed any further in that program. If that happens, you should immediately contact an experienced expungement attorney to represent you. As explained above, the expungement process can take anywhere from six months to one year (and sometimes longer). While there is no such thing as an “expedited expungement,” at Katherine O’Brien Law we will do our best to process your expungement in a timely manner. Moreover, if necessary, we can also write a letter to your nursing program explaining that you have retained us to expunge your record and advising the program that you are eligible for expungement and will in all likelihood obtain one without an objection. Often times, we find that such letters will satisfy your program of any concerns that they have while your petition for expungement is pending.
Do I Need to Disclose My Expunged Record to the New Jersey Board of Nursing?
If you have questions regarding the disclosure of expunged records to the New Jersey Board of Nursing, please read our article on Disclosure of Expunged Records to the New Jersey Board of Nursing.
If you have any questions about the expungement process, contact the expungement lawyers at Katherine O’Brien Law today for a free consultation at 856-832-2482. Our affordable New Jersey expungements start at just $695.00 (all inclusive). In addition, we offer flexible payment plans and can begin working on your expungement for as little as $300.00 down.