Can You Become a Nurse if You’ve Got a Juvenile Record?

You’ve probably made an illegal mistake when you were a teenager. For this misdemeanor, you’ve served time and changed your ways. Now, you want to build a career in nursing to save and help people.

On average, 400,000 juveniles get detained, arrested, and charged every year. These individuals often find it hard to be accepted in society. For instance, people might have biases that affect their ability to enroll in school or get a job. They’ll question the juvenile’s professionalism and reliability.

For instance, in pursuit of a career in nursing, you might face daunting questions about prospects and eligibility. There are a lot of legal, practical, and ethical considerations. You might wonder whether past indiscretions can impede your ability to serve as a caregiver.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the nuanced pathways, opportunities, and challenges for people with juvenile records aspiring to become nurses.

Should You Choose a Nursing Career if You Have a Juvenile Record?

Dr. Sampson Davis was once detained for a crime. However, his pact with two of his best friends changed everything. He is now a board-certified doctor who understands the fragile balance between being smart and acting out.

Stories like this should be inspirational enough for juveniles to pursue a career in the medical field. However, the impact of a criminal record won’t go unnoticed in this industry. The healthcare system has significant limitations for these individuals:

  • Potential legal barriers
  • Stigma and bias
  • Professional setbacks

Navigating these avenues requires careful consideration and proper transparency. You must recognize that a juvenile record doesn’t define who you are or your future aspirations. Remember to weigh the potential impact of your record on employment and licensure against your passion for this career.

Nursing schools can promote rehabilitation and advocate for fair policies to provide adequate support and resources. That’s the only way the healthcare industry can empower aspiring nurses with juvenile records to pursue their dreams.

How Can People With Juvenile Records Become Registered Nurses (RNs)?

Do you have a misdemeanor record that can be expunged or sealed? Then, nursing can be a rewarding journey of personal growth and professional fulfillment.


However, the decision rests on your readiness to confront the challenges of nursing school and strive for a successful career. If you’re ready, then you can take a look at the three tips:

#1. Understand the Legal Landscape

Before embarking on a nursing career, people with juvenile records should do the following things:

  • Research the jurisdiction-specific regulations related to criminal record disclosure and the impact of the offenses on licensure.
  • Seek advice from lawyers specializing in juvenile law to offer clarity about expungement and sealing of records.

Understanding the legal requirements can equip you with valuable insight to navigate the application process. Addressing these considerations can truly help you make informed decisions.

#2. Choose a Nursing Program That Suits Your Needs

To become a nurse, you must enroll in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) degree. The ABSN vs. BSN dilemma has plagued thousands of aspirants for many years.

According to Online ABSN Programs, aspirants can get an ABSN degree within 12 to 24 months, whereas BSN degrees involve 4 years of coursework. BSN requires you to attend clinical rotations to get hands-on patient experience. However, ABSN programs are best suited for people who already have a bachelor’s degree.

As an individual with a juvenile record, it’s crucial to check with the state board to understand the school’s candidate requirements. Depending on that, you can choose the course you want.

Industry leaders believe these individuals need to get their backgrounds checked before they can proceed with the Board of Nursing. In most cases, misdemeanor juvenile records won’t have any effect on your application status.

Pro Tip: You can also explore an alternate pathway (being a certified nursing assistant) if you want less stringent requirements regarding your juvenile history.

#3. Persevere Through It All

Once you’ve entered a program, it’s important to focus on gaining relevant experience and academic excellence. One way to do that is by persevering through the complex nursing school coursework and clinical rotations.

Aspirants with a juvenile past also need to be extra transparent and honest about demonstrating rehabilitation. You can show this by taking part in community service and going for counseling.

Once you’ve completed the course, remember to obtain letters of recommendation to attest to your work ethic and character. You must also be prepared to discuss your juvenile history during interviews for nursing licensure. Always emphasize what you’ve learned and how it has shaped your commitment to being a nurse.

5 Challenges of Pursuing a Nursing Career as a Juvenile Offender

Currently, 5,239,499 RNs are working in America. Among them, only a few have a criminal background. Do you know why people with juvenile records opt out of working in the healthcare industry?


It’s probably because of the following challenges that they face:

  1. Certain juvenile offenses (felonies like murder, sexual assault, and sale of drugs) might disqualify individuals from obtaining a nursing license.
  2. Bias and stigma can impact educational opportunities and professional relations in a nursing career.
  3. Some healthcare facilities might have strict policies regarding hiring individuals with criminal records.
  4. People might find it hard to deal with the complexities of nursing school on top of the emotional impact of a juvenile record.
  5. Aspirants might not have the proper financial backing to get a nursing education and license.

Individuals might also find it hard to navigate rehabilitation and ensure personal growth after serving time, leading to recidivism. This can happen due to limited resources, support, long-term consequences, etc.

In summary, having a misdemeanor juvenile record won’t be a barrier to your pursuit of a nursing career. However, you’ll face many hurdles and challenges.

To overcome these, you must take proactive measures like seeking legal guidance and pursuing education diligently. You can also navigate the complexities of your past by demonstrating rehabilitation efforts and moving forward with your career goals.

The healthcare industry should also advocate for policies to balance these opportunities and create an inclusive workforce. This way, they can welcome individuals from diverse backgrounds.