Conviction of certain types of crimes affects nurse license eligibility in Texas. The ability to maintain or renew a Texas nurse license is also affected by conviction of certain crimes.
Nurse Licensure of Individuals with Criminal History in Texas
The Texas Administrative Code establishes the criteria utilized by the Texas Board of Nursing (BON) in determining the effect of criminal history on nursing licensure and eligibility for nursing licensure. 22 Tex. Admin. Code §213.28. This section on Licensure of Individuals with Criminal History applies to all individuals seeking to obtain or retain a license or multistate licensure privilege to practice nursing in Texas.
The BON may deny licensure or take disciplinary action for a conviction of "a felony that is directly related to the practice of nursing or for a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude that is directly related to the practice of nursing." 22 Tex. Admin. Code §213.28(b). License denial is possible even in the absence of a conviction. Accepting a plea deal is treated as a conviction for purposes of evaluating licensure and criminal history. Also, any deferred disposition agreement with the prosecution is enough to trigger Texas nurse license denial.
Crimes Directly Related to the Practice of Nursing
The Board will consider certain crimes to be directly related to the practice of nursing. This Disciplinary Guidelines for Criminal Conduct chart reflects the most common crimes considered to be directly related to the practice of nursing, though the Guidelines are not exhaustive and do not preclude the BON from considering criminal offenses not specifically listed. 22 Tex. Admin. Code §213.28(c).
The Board determined that the crimes listed in the Guidelines to be directly related to the practice of nursing for a number of enumerated reasons. 22 Tex. Admin. Code §213.28(d)(1)-(6). Generally speaking, crimes that target vulnerable populations, involve fraud, theft, lying, or deception, or involve drugs, alcohol, violence, or threatening behavior are considered crimes directly related to the practice of nursing and will affect one's eligibility to receive licensure from the Texas Board of Nursing.
By law, the Board is required to deny or revoke a license for the conviction of certain crimes. Crimes mandating license revocation or denial include, but are not limited to: sexual assault, manslaughter, murder, offenses for which registration as a sex offender is required, child endangerment, robbery, and assault.
However, not all criminal conduct will harm one's ability to obtain or retain licensure. "The Board recognizes that an individual may make a mistake, learn from it, and not repeat it in the nursing practice setting." 22 Tex. Admin. Code §213.28(g). So long as the crime is not one that requires license revocation or denial, then "each case will be evaluated on its own merits to determine if a sanction is warranted." 22 Tex. Admin. Code §213.28(g).
Crimes Not Specifically Listed in the Disciplinary Guidelines for Criminal Conduct
Further, a crime will be considered to be directly related to the practice of nursing if the criminal activity:
- Arose out of the practice of nursing.
- Involves a current or former patient.
- Arose out of the practice location of the nurse.
- Involves a healthcare professional with whom the nurse has had a professional relationship; or
- Constitutes a criminal violation of the Texas Nursing Practice Act or another statute regulating another profession in the healing arts that also applies to the individual.
Factors the Board Will Consider When Determining Sanctions
Having a criminal history does not necessarily preclude a person from attaining a license to practice nursing in the state of Texas. The Board will consider the following factors, among others, when determining licensure eligibility and disciplinary matters involving criminal conduct:
- The nature, seriousness, and extent of the individual’s past criminal activity.
- The age of the individual when the crime was committed.
- The amount of time that has elapsed since the individual’s last criminal activity.
- The conduct and work activity of the individual before and after the criminal activity.
- The actual damages, physical or otherwise, resulting from the criminal activity.
- Evidence of remorse and having learned from past mistakes.
- Evidence of current support structures that will prevent future criminal activity.
- Evidence of current ability to practice nursing in accordance with the NPA, Board rules, generally accepted standards of nursing; and other laws that affect nursing practice.
- Any other matter that justice requires.
22 Tex. Admin. Code §213.28(h). The foregoing list is not exhaustive. The Board will consider other factors as well.
Criminal History & Nurse License Defense in Texas
If you have a criminal history and are seeking nurse licensure or you are a licensed nurse and facing criminal charges, BERTOLINO LLP can help.
We are experienced Nurse License Defense attorneys and we know how to navigate the Texas Board of Nursing's complaint process. We are prepared to represent you at any legal hearing or proceeding regarding your professional nursing license.
With offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, we serve clients all over the state. As experienced attorneys, well-versed in state and federal laws, we know how to win. Our results speak for themselves!
Contact us today or call (512) 476-5757 and schedule a case evaluation.