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License renewal for RNs: Are criminal charges a deal-breaker?

The Pennsylvania Code contains detailed provisions on the biennial license renewal process for registered nurses.

Since 2010, this process has included certification of compliance with continuing education requirements.

But are you still able to renew if you have been the subject of a disciplinary action directed at your nursing license by a state licensing board in the past two years? And what if you have been charged with a criminal offense?

The license renewal provisions in the Pennsylvania Code do not disqualify you from applying for a license renewal in such circumstances. Neither disciplinary action nor criminal charges is a deal-breaker.

Indeed, even if you have been convicted of criminal charges, it doesn't automatically block your renewal application. The same is true of a no-contest plea and of admission into a probation program without a verdict.

But here's the rub: you do have to disclose any discipline directed against your license by a state board authorized to take such action. And you do have to disclose criminal charges, convictions, probation admission and so on.

When the Board of Nursing becomes aware of a criminal conviction, it is quite possible that it will seek to impose discipline on you. This is true even if the conviction was for a misdemeanor.

But the board cannot impose discipline without allowing you due process. An attorney experienced in nursing license defense can advocate for you, seeking a favorable resolution to the disciplinary proceedings that allows you to keep practicing.

In short, criminal charges are not necessarily a deal-breaker for license renewal for registered nurses. But it's important to have a skilled lawyer on your side if that issue arises.

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If you are a licensed nurse, doctor, dentist, pharmacist or any other professional in Pennsylvania, call The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn for help. Based in Philadelphia, our attorneys have decades of experience in the fields of professional license defense, criminal defense and family law.

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