Can You Be a Nurse with a Criminal Record in Texas?

Many people dream of one day having the opportunity to make a difference in their community. What better way to bring hope and cheer into the lives of the sick and scared than to be a nurse? Licensed nurses deal with our most vulnerable people: the diseased, children, elderly, and disabled.  A career in nursing is a vital component of the well-being of society. It’s also challenging and rewarding work.

At first impression, a criminal may not seem like the most qualified candidate to help take care of our at-risk community members.  However, policies that prevent anyone with a record – even non-violent offenses – to become a registered nurse (RN) can be flawed.  Not all felons are violent or dangerous people. Many ex-offenders want to, and have the capacity to, help others.

Texas Board of Nursing

According to Texas law, the Nursing Board has the power to consider criminal behavior when assessing a person’s fitness to practice nursing. If you’re trying to become a nurse in Texas and you have a criminal record, this can be troublesome. But, it may still be possible for some of these individuals to become a nurse. The first step is to remain honest, patient, and if possible, seek the assistance of an attorney.

Having a conviction listed in Texas Admin. Code Rule 213.28 doesn’t automatically eliminate you from being eligible. The law lists certain felonies, and crimes of “moral turpitude” as red flags. Yet, the Nursing Board will consider many things when evaluating applicants.

Nursing Board Considerations

The Board will consider the following:

  • The age of the person when the crime was committed
  • The extent and nature of the person’s past criminal activity
  • The amount of time that has elapsed since the person’s last criminal activity
  • The conduct and work activity of the person before and after the criminal activity
  • Evidence of the person’s rehabilitation (while incarcerated or after relief)
  • Other evidence of the person’s fitness, including letters of recommendation

The Board wants to ensure that your criminal history is in the past, and that it would not affect your work as a nurse. In any case, the best option to remove a criminal record is to apply for an expungement or record seal. The Texas Board of Nursing states that expunged or sealed offenses need not be disclosed.  However, it’s important to have a physical copy of your court-ordered expungement or record seal. This way, there can be no mistake that you’ve been honest about your criminal background. Check our newly improved eligibility test to see if you qualify for an expungement or record seal. For matters like these, it’s always best to consult a law firm experienced in removing criminal records.

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