Consequences of Criminal Convictions for Students and Licensure Applicants

This page provides guidance on how criminal convictions may impact prelicensure nursing students, students enrolled in DT or LCPM programs, and applicants for licensure in Kentucky. In addition, an overview of the reporting and review processes of criminal convictions is provided. 

The Possible Impact of Criminal Convictions Upon Admission into, and Completion of, Schools or Training Programs to Become a Nurse, Dialysis Technician, or Licensed Certified Professional Midwife

201 KAR 20:340 §1(1) states: "Admission requirements and practices [of programs of pre-licensure nursing education] shall be stated and published in the governing institution's publications...." To the extent a program of pre-licensure nursing education screens applicants for enrollment based on criminal history, such policies or restrictions should be identified in institution publications that summarize admission policies. While some programs of pre-licensure nursing education direct enrollment applicants to contact KBN staff regarding criminal convictions before entering the program, there is no mechanism for conviction review by the Kentucky Board of Nursing prior to submission of an application for nursing licensure, and nursing students do not file applications for licensure until the end of the educational process. Given this, it is impossible for Board staff to predict with certainty the future outcome of conviction review or the hearing process at the time of a student's initial enrollment in nursing school. 

When contacted by enrolling students regarding convictions, Board staff advise students to seek expungement of criminal records where possible. After expungement is approved by the court, the criminal proceedings in the matter shall be deemed never to have occurred. For non-felons, criminal history is unlikely to be an absolute barrier to nursing employment; however, such convictions can result in imposition of disciplinary restrictions. Enrolling students with felony convictions who cannot obtain an expungement may be ineligible for clinical placements required for graduation, may be denied licensure, and may have difficulty securing employment if granted a nursing license. Board staff are aware of multiple hospital systems that presently prohibit students with unexpunged felonies from performing clinical rotations within their facilities. 

Admission decisions by programs of pre-licensure nursing education regarding applicants for enrollment who have unexpunged criminal convictions are made exclusively by school administrators. The Kentucky Board of Nursing does not participate in admission decisions. 

For more information about Mandatory Reporting of Criminal Convictions, visit the KBN Document Library and use the search term reporting criminal convictions.​

Get the Mandatory Reporting of Criminal Convictions​ file.

Licensure Applicant's Reporting of Criminal Convictions

The Kentucky Board of Nursing is authorized to deny a license or to issue a license under disciplinary conditions because of an applicant's criminal conviction. KRS 314.091(1) states, in part: "The board [of nursing] shall have power to reprimand, deny, limit, revoke, probate, or suspend any license . . . to practice nursing issued by the board or applied for in accordance with this chapter . . . upon proof that the person . . . (b) has been convicted of any felony or a misdemeanor involving drugs, alcohol, fraud, deceit, falsification of records, a breach of trust, physical harm or endangerment to others, or dishonesty . . ." 

Similar language pertaining to Dialysis Technicians and Licensed Certified Professional Midwives can be located at: 201 KAR 20:470 Sec. 6 - Dialysis Technicians; and 201 KAR 20:630 Sec.1 - Licensed Certified Professional Midwives. These regulations can be accessed by selecting "201 KAR Chapter 20" from the Laws and Regulations webpage nested under the Consumer Protection tab at the top of the KBN website. After opening Title 201 of the Kentucky Administrative Regulations (KAR), navigate down the page to Chapter 20, which lists all regulations promulgated by the Kentucky Board of Nursing. Likewise, KRS 314.091(1)(b) can be accessed by selecting KRS Chapter 314 on the aforementioned Laws and Regulations webpage nested under the Consumer Protection tab at the top of the KBN website. After opening KRS Chapter 314, it is necessary to scroll down to KRS 314.091 and click on the specific statute being sought.

What Constitutes a Criminal Conviction, and What Documentation must be Provided?

At the time of an initial application for a license or credential, all misdemeanor and felony convictions occurring in Kentucky or in any other state must be reported to KBN, with one notable exception, regardless of when they occurred. The exception is that traffic related misdemeanor convictions, other than DUIs, do not need to be reported. Military and federal convictions must be reported. In accordance with KRS 314.011(21), a person has been convicted if they pled guilty, entered an Alford or nolo contendre plea, entered a guilty plea pursuant to a pretrial diversion order, or were found guilty in any court, regardless of whether the penalty was rebated, suspended, or probated. All criminal convictions are individually reviewed by KBN.

Conviction Review Process

With one narrow exception, an applicant must supply KBN with a certified copy of the conviction record for each conviction. The exception is that, with regard to misdemeanor and DUI convictions that are more than five years old at the time of the initial report, the applicant is not required to provide certified copy of the conviction record unless specifically requested to do so by KBN staff. An applicant reporting a conviction must always provide a letter of explanation, which is a personally written, notarized summary of the events that led to the conviction. It gives the person an opportunity to state what happened and to explain the circumstances that led to the conviction. KBN will take into consideration the nature of the offense and the date of the conviction. KBN may deny an application or may discipline the applicant because of criminal convictions. If that happens, the applicant may request a formal hearing before a KBN hearing panel. The request for hearing must be in writing. The applicant will be notified of the date, time, and location of the hearing. The applicant may be represented by an attorney. The hearing panel will consider the request for licensure. After evidence is presented at a hearing, the hearing panel will make a recommendation to the full Board regarding the approval or denial of the application for licensure.

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