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Will an old felony affect my chances of being hired as an RN?

Tuesday September 11, 2012
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Question:

Dear Donna,

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

Fearful

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Fearful,

When you have potential obstacles to overcome, it makes sense to rely on your personal and professional network to help you find and get a job. This can lead to introductions, referrals and recommendations. While most employers do criminal background checks these days, some might be more inclined to hire someone who has been referred by a person they know.

Many nurses tell me they "don’t have a network." Everyone has a network of family, friends, neighbors, nursing instructors, former employers and coworkers. You can build a professional network by joining and participating in nursing associations.

Also, I suggest you start volunteering (as a nurse, if possible) in a healthcare setting while you look for paid employment. Try a public health department, free clinic, hospice and so on. Volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door somewhere and often leads to paid employment. It’s also a way to expand your professional network.

It could be helpful to consult with a nurse attorney for advice on getting hired despite the felony. Here are a few related responses from 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


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.