The Texas Board of Nursing has the power and the jurisdiction to consider criminal convictions of applicants and acting nurses as a part of its mandate to regulate the practice of the nursing profession. The scenarios for applicants and for already-licensed nurses is quite different, and the situations under which the Board of Nursing is likely to accept an explanation of a criminal conviction is therefore altered in kind.
When the Board is considering permitting an applicant to the practice of nursing, its members will take prior criminal convictions into account. While it is relatively difficult to overcome a previous conviction—and while some forms of a prior conviction are practically insurmountable—there are instances in which an individual who has previously been convicted of a crime may nonetheless be admitted to the practice of nursing.
In examining the application of a person with a prior conviction, the Board is likely to take into consideration certain factors. Among these are:
- The length of time that has passed since the conviction for the criminal act;
- The nature of that act, and whether there is evidence for any such behavior in the time since the conviction;
- The age at which the act was committed (teenagers are more likely to make mistakes of judgment than adults);
- The work history of the individual both before and following the criminal activity;
- Evidence that the individual has rehabilitated, whether during incarceration or after being released;
- Letters of recommendation composed by people of good character;
- Any other evidence the individual may be able to submit indicating remorse and alteration of behavior.
The key element to be satisfied before the Board is that all criminal behavior is well and truly past, and that it will not affect any work the individual might do as a nurse.
This is why it is fundamentally different when a person already employed as a nurse is convicted of a crime. Should this happen to you, you should contact an experienced professional license defense attorney immediately so we may examine your options.
Even uncharged criminal offenses alleged in complaints will be considered unprofessional conduct, and the Board may request a nurse with such allegations against them to undergo both psychological testing and a polygraph test. Any nurse asked to undertake these measures should contact an experienced professional license defense attorney immediately, as we can argue that polygraph exams have no basis in law, and evidence or indications made via psychological examination may be used to restrict or strip a nurse’s license. We may be able to keep this from happening.
As usual, the earlier in the complaint process that you contact an attorney, the better. Should you need to defend your nursing license, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced professional license defense attorney, like us here at BERTOLINO LLP. We proudly represent licensed medical professionals across the entire State of Texas. To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio.
If you are facing disciplinary action from the Texas Board of Nursing for any reason, contact us today or call (512) 476-5757 and schedule a case evaluation.