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How Criminal History Affects Your Application

Criminal Background Checks

Applying for a license or certificate in Oregon involves several steps.  One step that can prolong the approval process is the criminal background check (CBC).  To promote public safety, the Oregon State Board of Nursing runs all license applications, including renewal applications, through a CBC.  CBCs are comprised of fingerprint checks and/or Oregon Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS) checks. All ‘positive hits’ are sent to the Investigations department for further review.  A 'positive hit' means the background check indicates a person has been arrested or convicted of a crime.

All issues are handled on a case-by-case basis.  In addition to thoroughly reading all the mandatory disclosure questions and answering them truthfully and completely, there are a few ways to expedite the process. 

All arrests and convictions (misdemeanors and felonies) must be reported, except for minor traffic violations.  Driving Under the Influence must be reported.  All prior or current disciplinary action against a healthcare-related license must be reported, whether it occurred in Oregon or in another state or territory.

​Each application is reviewed on an individual basis.  The OSBN reviews all prior arrests and convictions that may be related substantially to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a nurse or nursing assistant.  The OSBN considers the nature, severity, and timing of the offense(s), as well as rehabilitation and other factors.  The Board cannot make a determination for approval or denial of licensure without evaluating the entire application and supporting documentation.

​Yes.  Offenses must be reported to the Board even if a court diversion program has been completed, and even if charges were dismissed. 

​In addition to the documents required for licensure, the OSBN will require:

  1. Official court document(s) and arrest report(s) relative to your conviction(s), showing the date(s) and circumstance(s) surrounding your arrest /conviction(s), sections of the law violated, and disposition of the case.
  2. Copies of documents relative to any disciplinary action taken against any license as an RN or any healthcare related license or certificate, if applicable.
  3. A detailed description of the circumstances surrounding your conviction(s) or disciplinary action(s), and a thorough description of the rehabilitative changes in your lifestyle since the time of your conviction(s) or disciplinary action that would enable you to avoid future occurrences.  It would be helpful to include factors in your life that you feel may have contributed to your conviction(s) or disciplinary action, what you have learned about yourself since that time, and the changes you have made that support your rehabilitation.
  4. Examples of rehabilitation evidence include, but are not limited to:
    • Evidence of professional treatment and counseling you may have completed.
    • Letters of reference on official letterhead from employers, nursing instructors, health professionals, professional counselors, parole or probation officers, or other individuals in positions of authority.Proof of community service work, schooling, and/or self-improvement efforts; and,
    • Court-issued certificates of rehabilitation, dismissal or evidence of expungement, proof of compliance with criminal probation or parole, and orders of the court.

​As stated previously, each application is reviewed on an individual basis.  If you have been investigated for allegations of abuse or neglect, a closure letter from the law enforcement or social service agency that conducted the investigation will expedite the review of your application.  You should also submit a detailed letter explaining, by your own account, the circumstances surrounding the event(s). 

​The processing time is unpredictable, since there are various factors that affect the investigation.

​The OSBN strongly encourages all individuals with an arrest, conviction, or discipline history to be fully prepared with information regarding their background prior to submitting an application.  Otherwise, your request for a license will experience a delay.  Enclosing all of your supporting documentation will also assist in expediting the process and review. 

​Yes.  You have the right to appeal the license denial and have an administrative hearing under the provisions of Oregon administrative law.  You must submit the appeal in writing to the Board office within 60 days from the service of the notice of denial.  If you do not submit an appeal in writing to the Board, you will automatically waive your right to a hearing, and your application will be deemed denied.