It takes years of dedication to develop a nursing career, but it may only take a few moments to put one’s career at risk. The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing typically requires a four-year degree and a commitment to continuing education from every licensed nurse.
Those applying for a license will need to pass a background check in addition to providing information about their educational history. A variety of different criminal charges, including violent offenses and drug crimes, could make someone ineligible for a nursing license in Pennsylvania.
Once someone obtains their license, they need to continue to abide by state law or risk losing their license in the future. A registered nurse arrested for a crime may be eager to move on and minimize the attention paid to the matter. Can a registered nurse in Pennsylvania avoid career consequences by choosing not to report criminal charges or convictions to the State Board of Nursing?
Rules require prompt reporting
If someone accused of criminal activity in Pennsylvania usually does not have the option of lying about their circumstances. The license that they hold is only valid for two years, which means that the Board will discover any criminal conviction that occurs when someone requests the renewal of their license.
Most registered nurses will need to notify the State Board of Nursing about their criminal issues long before it is time to renew their licenses. The rules enforced by the Board include a requirement to send formal notification about pending criminal charges and recent convictions. Those reporting discipline by another licensing authority must report the matter within 30 days. If someone fails to follow these rules, the infraction will likely come to light when they renew their license.
Charges don’t automatically end licensing
The good news for someone facing criminal charges and worried about their nursing license is that they have the right to defend themselves. Obviously, anyone accused of criminal activity has the right to mount a defense at trial to avoid a conviction.
Even those who plead guilty and those convicted by the courts can still protect their professional licensing in certain cases. They can have a lawyer defend them during disciplinary hearings. With the right support, registered nurses may be able to avoid the loss of their licenses or other long-term career penalties related to criminal charges.