If you have past criminal convictions related to drugs or alcohol, you may worry about your ability to obtain or renew your Pennsylvania nursing license. However, you may be able to successfully appeal this decision if you have completed a substance use treatment program.
Review the process of appealing a Pennsylvania nursing license denial.
Understand the denial criteria
The State Board of Nursing will not issue a nursing license if dependence on alcohol or drugs prevents you from safely practicing your profession. In this case, you may qualify for a license if you can show the board that you proactively sought counseling and medical treatment to overcome substance use disorder.
You cannot receive a denial solely based on a criminal record if this history would not impact your current skill and safe practice as a nurse. However, you must disclose all prior felony and misdemeanor convictions in your license application.
Prepare your application
When you apply for a nursing license after a conviction for driving under the influence or a related offense, you should include:
- Records from mental and physical health care providers who support your substance use disorder recovery
- Letters from your therapist, counselor or 12-step program sponsor
- Letters of support and positive performance evaluations from your current job, whether or not you currently work as a nurse
As part of the application or appeal process, the board can ask you to take a physical or mental health exam. This offers another opportunity to show that you are ready, willing and able to offer patients the quality care you received education to provide.