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License on the line: How can a criminal conviction impact a career in nursing?

When a nurse in Texas faces a criminal conviction, the repercussions extend beyond the legal system. The Texas Board of Nursing (BON) holds the authority to grant, suspend, or revoke a nursing license based on criminal activity.

When will the BON revoke a nursing license?

The BON evaluates criminal convictions within the context of nursing practice. Not all convictions lead to license action, but the BON assesses:

  • The nature and seriousness of the offense,
  • The relationship of the offense to the practice of nursing, and
  • Types of convictions that impact nursing licenses.

Certain criminal convictions have a direct bearing on a nursing license. These include but are not limited to felonies involving violence, sexual offenses, and drug-related crimes. In a recent example, the BON suspended the license of a nurse after he plead guilty to use of a two-way communications device to commit a felony. The charges were in connection with an investigation into child sexual abuse. The case serves as a stark reminder of how what may seem like a reasonable plea deal offer can result in unforeseen consequences. In this case, the loss of a professional license.

What other forms of disciplinary action will the BON consider?

In addition to a potential revocation of a nursing license, when a criminal conviction relates to a nurse’s practice, the BON can take various actions that may include the issuance of a warning or reprimand, imposition of fines, requirement to complete remedial education or treatment programs, or the temporary suspension of the nursing license.

Each case is unique, and outcomes depend on specific circumstances.

What if the BON revoked my license? Is this the end of my career as a nurse?

Following disciplinary action, nurses may seek reinstatement of their license. The process generally involves:

  • Compliance with BON stipulations,
  • Demonstration of fitness to practice, and
  • Possible completion of additional education or treatment.

Reinstatement is not guaranteed, and the BON will rigorously evaluate a nurse’s readiness to return to practice.

A criminal conviction can gravely impact a nurse’s career in Texas. Nurses must understand the legal implications and the BON’s role in enforcing standards. Proactive legal guidance can help nurses who find themselves in this situation to navigate the complexities of these matters, better ensuring you can take appropriate steps to address any issues related to your professional licensure.

Remember, each situation is unique. You have options and can fight back during an investigation by the BON.

Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication.