Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in Texas and the rest of the United States. A conviction for DUI can have long-term repercussions, particularly for those who want to pursue higher education or enter a licensed profession. If you hope to become a nurse, you should be aware of how a DUI conviction could affect your plans.
Getting into nursing school
Each nursing school has its own admission policies, with some requesting information about criminal history on their admission applications. A criminal conviction, particularly a misdemeanor or an older conviction, may not impact your admission to nursing school.
Still, it is critical that you be forthcoming about your DUI conviction if asked about it. Lying on your admission application could be grounds for expulsion if your deception is discovered.
Hospital clinical rotations
Things become more complicated once you are in nursing school and progressing with your education. All student nurses must complete clinical training in a hospital and hospitals do perform background checks on all workers, including student nurses. If hospital policy is biased against those with criminal records, you may have to find another facility that is willing to allow you to complete your clinical rotations.
Getting your nursing license
A final hurdle is getting a state licensing board to issue your nursing license. All state nursing boards perform criminal background checks and, as with applying to nursing school, it is best to be forthcoming about your past.
The nursing board takes several matters into consideration when evaluating your application, including the circumstances of the DUI, how long in the past the incident occurred, and the steps you’ve taken to rehabilitate yourself. If you have a clean record post-conviction and you can demonstrate leading a responsible life since the incident, the board may be willing to give you chance. Still, you should be prepared for a denial, which could mean that you will be unable to practice as a nurse.
Nobody should ever drive while impaired due to the danger it presents to themselves and anyone on the road. In addition, a conviction for DUI could have a significant, and extremely negative, impact on your life and career.