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What happens if a nurse fails to disclose a prior arrest?

Working to get a nursing degree is no easy task. It takes countless hours of study, practical experience and the sacrifice of time otherwise spent with family and loved ones. When getting to those final stages of the process, when close to having everything complete that is needed to start a job as a nurse, an applicant must first apply with the local nursing board to get a nursing license in the state they choose to practice their profession.

The application to get a nursing license is very detailed. It will ask many questions, potentially including whether or not the applicant has had any prior arrests or convictions. But how closely do the boards monitor these applications? Do they really double check? What happens if an applicant answers “no” when there is a history of an arrest or conviction?

An applicant to the New Jersey State Board of Nursing recently found out.

The case involved an applicant that selected the “no” box for the question about prior arrests or convictions on the application for licensure as a Registered Nurse in New Jersey. Upon further investigation by the board, officials found out that the applicant had a prior conviction for forgery in South Dakota. The offense was over four decades old. In 1978, the applicant was arrested and charged with forgery. She paid her fine, of $143.00, and moved on.

Could the board deny her application?

It is possible. As a result, it is important to prepare to defend yourself if in a similar situation. In this case, the best strategy was likely to focus on two facts: the accused paid her fine and the date of the offense. 42 years is a very long time ago. Although the board required the applicant to pay a fine as a penalty for the misrepresentation, the strategy ultimately proved successful. The board chose to grant the applicant her license.