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I am about to graduate, but have a felony on my record. Will I be able to find a nursing position?

Thursday July 26, 2012
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Dear Donna,

I am about to graduate from an ADN program, but have a felony on my record from 12 years ago. I don't anticipate a problem getting licensed, but I have a fear no one will hire me, despite my academic worthiness and clean record since that incident. Any suggestions?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Fearful,

When you have potential obstacles to overcome, it makes sense to rely on your network to help you find a job. Networking can lead to introductions, referrals and recommendations. While many or most employers do criminal background checks, some might be more inclined to hire a candidate that someone they know can personally vouch for.

If you run into difficulties, start volunteering in a medical or healthcare-related setting as soon as possible. Volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door and have a chance for people to get to know you and work with you before you apply for or are offered a job there.

It could be helpful to consult with a nurse attorney for advice on getting hired, in spite of the felony, including how to address this on interviews and applications. Here are a couple related responses from the Brent's Law column you may find helpful: http://news.nurse.com/article/20110204/ALL05/110204003 and http://news.nurse.com/article/20120622/ALL05/120627004

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.