Are you in remission for substance use disorder after successfully completing treatment? If a health care licensing board in Pennsylvania denied you for a nursing license based on past drug or alcohol addiction, you may be able to successfully appeal this decision. 

Follow these steps to file an appeal if you received a rejection of your health care license application. 

Reasons for denial 

Pennsylvania issues nursing licenses through the State Board of Nursing. The board can refuse to issue a license if someone is not able to practice safely and skillfully because of drug or alcohol dependence. However, this does not apply to nurses who are able to demonstrate that they have remained sober after successful medical and psychological treatment for addiction.  

Conviction disclosure 

If you have prior misdemeanor or felony convictions, you must disclose even expunged convictions to the board with your application. The board may not deny a nursing license just because of a criminal record, provided that you are able to explain your history and give proof that these events are in the past and will not affect your ability to effectively care for patients. 

Proof of ability to practice 

You must provide sufficient evidence that you have successfully completed drug and alcohol treatment program, such as a letter from a doctor involved in your treatment or a psychologist who provides ongoing support for your recovery. If you attend counseling sessions or AA or NA meetings, ask your counselor or sponsor to provide testimony on your behalf.  

Performance evaluations and support letters from your employer can also improve your case, even if you do not currently work in the medical field. The board can require you to take a mental or physical exam to prove your competence as part of the application or appeal process.  

Triumphing over addiction is a significant accomplishment. Prevent your past from affecting your future by addressing prior substance use in your nursing license application.