Will a criminal conviction lead to the loss of your nursing license?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Professional License Issues |

The process of getting your nursing license is not an easy task. In addition to classes and clinicals, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam, an extremely difficult test administered by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing (the Board).

Nurses are held to strict professional and legal standards, so it’s crucial to understand how a criminal conviction may result in the loss of their nursing license.

High standards of ethics and trustworthiness

The Board is responsible for ensuring that all practicing nurses meet the required standards of professionalism, competence and ethical conduct. Part of this duty includes investigating any criminal convictions.

Summary offenses, such as traffic violations or certain misdemeanors, are unlikely to result in license revocation. However, the impact of a misdemeanor on a nursing license depends on several factors, including the nature of the crime and whether the individual has a history of similar offenses.

A felony charge is the most serious category of crimes and can include offenses such as:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Grand theft
  • Aggravated assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Weapons charge

A felony conviction is likely to substantially impact a nurse’s ability to maintain their license. These crimes could suggest a risk to patient safety and undermine the trust placed in healthcare professionals.

When evaluating the impact of a criminal conviction on a nursing license, the Board considers various factors, including:

  • Nature and severity of the crime
  • The relationship the crime has to the individual’s duties and responsibilities as a nurse
  • If the crime was an isolated incident or a pattern of behavior

Understanding how a crime can affect a nurse’s professional reputation and the public’s trust in the nursing profession is important. A nurse is required to inform the Board of pending criminal charges within 30 days of the charges being filed. Considering the impact of a conviction, it’s vital that they seek guidance to protect their career