Most likely, if you’re reading this article, it means you’ve made a mistake and you’re wondering will a misdemeanor affect nursing license. Hopefully, the transgression was only a misdemeanor and not a felony. A misdemeanor by legal definition is a criminal offense that is less serious than a felony offense but more serious than an infraction. Usually for other occupations, misdemeanors would not affect their job. However for nurses, misdemeanors will definitely affect the nursing license. In degree of seriousness, it depends on the type of misdemeanor. All misdemeanors and felonies go to the State Board of Nursing for review. (They are not reviewed by the NCSBN). There are 3 levels of disciplinary actions that all the Nursing BON (Board of Nursing) will take for misdemeanors and felonies. These include the following:
Level 1 Nursing Disciplinary Action: Remedial Education / Reprimand / Warning
We reviewed over 100 actual cases of transgressions and how the Disciplinary Boards responded. After reviewing many of the public cases from the Nursing BON websites, we came to the conclusion that remedial education is generally for nursing errors, human mistakes and those that cause little or no harm. This is the least serious nursing disciplinary action. Usually it means you can keep working with little or no restrictions although you may be monitored for some time.
The negative thing with nursing reprimand is that this record remains for the rest of your career as a nurse. There is no expungement. However, if the case is minor, it can be easy to explain to future employers.
Common cases including minor misdemeanors (shoplifting and larceny), not reporting certain information to the Board of Nursing and minor charting errors on the job.
Level 2 Nursing Disciplinary Action: Probation
This is the next level of seriousness for misdemeanors. Probation is a Level 2 Nursing disciplinary action that is a more serious case meaning you can still continue to work as a nurse; however, there will be conditions and restraints for a set period of time. The time varies – probation can be certain number of days, months or years depending on the severity of the offense. For example, you may have to sign up for certain ‘checks’ depending on the offense.
Common nursing probation cases including charting errors, misleading / falsifying or not reporting certain information (like criminal records, termination from jobs, etc.) and more serious misdemeanors. Usually cases that are lighter Level 3 Suspension & Revocation cases will fall under the Probation level category.
Can You be a Nurse with a Misdemeanor
In conclusion, to answer will a misdemeanor affect nursing license is usually no. To clarify, misdemeanors are usually fall into Level 1 and Level 2 nurse disciplinary actions according to the Nursing BON. So can you be a nurse with a misdemeanor? The answer is Yes. These actions are recorded but do not result in termination of your nursing license. However, please be aware that a Nursing DUI, even though may be classified as a misdemeanor in many States would immediately fall into the Level 3 nursing disciplinary action. Level 3 nursing disciplinary actions have EXTREMELY serious consequences. We’ll follow that up in a next article. Have you been involved in a misdemeanor? Was your nursing license affected? Please share feedback and experiences with what you went through with the community. We respect anonymous comments for this article.