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Conducting Nursing Background Checks: A Complete Guide

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    Nurses play an important part in the system of healthcare and their patients' care, and making bad hiring decisions could result in disastrous outcomes. Background checks aid in building a nursing team that, with confidence, guarantee patient safety and minimize the risk.

    This article will go over background check requirements and criminal records, the disqualification of nurses' licenses, and how to obtain a nurse background check.


    What is a nursing Background check?

    A nursing background check is a screening service that is utilized to verify an individual's identity, past work, education, and professional licensing. It can also provide information about a person's criminal record, sanction history, or use of drugs.

    A well-designed background screening program can assist the licensing bodies, schools of nursing, and employers make educated decisions regarding which candidates are best suitable for the nursing profession.


    What does a nursing background check include?

    Complete background checks for nurses generally contain a range of screenings to ensure patient safety and ensure lawful compliance. For example, a nurse's background check may include the following screenings:

    • Social Security Number (SSN) Trace checks the credit bureaus across the nation to confirm it is valid. The Social Security number is valid and is under an official name and birth date provided by the person who is applying for it. It also provides all associated names, aliases, and recorded counties.
    • The National Criminal Database Search searches thousands of digital databases throughout the US to identify violations or misdemeanors and felony convictions and cases pending that may have occurred at the county or state levels.
    • This Sexual Offender Registry Search combs the sex offender registry, which encompasses every one of the US States and Territories and also includes several hundred thousand records of offender information all across the nation.
    • domestic Monitoring List Search searches US government databases for criminals escaping the law, including those on the FBI's Most Wanted and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) The No Fly List.
    • County Criminal Court Search searches at the county level and provides violations, misdemeanors, and felonies like DUIs, DWIs, assault, burglary, and theft.
    • Professional License Verification validates any national professional nurse's license. The results include the date of license issue, the expiration date, the credential title, and the status of the license.
    • Education Verification confirms the dates of attendance, majors, and the degrees that any high school or university has earned, college or vocational institution across the US.
    • Employment verifications check previous positions with dates of employment and the job title.
    • The drug screening checks for the presence of commonly used prescription and illicit drugs in one's system.

    The Health Sanctions Check examines more than 1,000 sources from the government and includes any sanctions such as suspensions and punitive or disciplinary actions against the healthcare professional. This includes government-issued Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) Exclusion, System for Award Management (SAM) as well as the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) lists.

    What charges can prevent You from becoming A Nurse?

    State nursing boards typically carry out criminal background checks to look into the background of applicants before granting an official license. This is also the case for various healthcare companies before hiring. Many people are left wondering, "Can you be a nurse if you've been charged with the conviction of a felony? Do hospitals employ nurses who have been charged with minor offenses?" In many cases, there is a yes. A misdemeanor or felony conviction does not necessarily mean that a person is disqualified from working as a nurse; however, convictions could need a more thorough examination by the board.

    For instance, the California Board of Registered Nursing could deny nursing licenses to applicants who are convicted of murder or grand theft, rape, or other crimes that require a Tier II or Tier III sex offender registration. They can also refuse or cancel licenses if the person is found guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony connected to nursing, such as theft, fraud, or other violence. In addition, registered nurses who are found guilty of a crime have the right to participate in an administrative hearing in front of the board and may impose sanctions.

    The state of Florida However, in Florida, kidnapping, murder, manslaughter, assault, abuse, and any other serious charges are deemed disqualifying crimes, and applicants will be deemed unfit to do the position.

    Disqualifying offenses may differ in each state. Make sure to look up your state's licensing board's requirements for the complete list of offenses that could prevent nurses from working in hospitals. Learn more about hospital background checks.

    Furthermore, healthcare and school institutions often conduct the same background checks and have specific criteria for excluding the applicant from being admitted or employed. Therefore, there could be instances when convictions discovered during background checks for a nursing school background check for nursing school aren't considered a reason to be enrolled. However, they can restrict a person's ability to be licensed or employed.

    Disqualification To Nursing License

    In addition to criminal records, states' nursing boards could deny a person nursing licensure for various reasons, including license disqualification, insufficient education requirements, failing an exam, or non-renewal of a license.

    The requirements for nurses' licensing can differ according to the type of license and state. For instance, the Registered Nurses (RNs) require higher education than Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), although there's no difference between RN and LPN background check requirements related to criminal records. Find your state board's guidelines for more information.

    It is important to note that the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) background check requirements also differ by type of license. Individuals can be denied from having a nursing license if they fail the required examination. For example, registered nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN, and Licensed Practical Nurses must take the NCLEX-PN exam.

    Level 1 and Level 2 Background Check for Healthcare Workers

    In the course of a complete background check for healthcare workers, it is recommended that a Health Sanctions Exam checks nursing applicants to verify that they're in good standing and aren't excluded from participating in any federal health program. Levels 1 and 2 contain a search on the OIG Exclusion List and the SAM database. Each search level further searches additional federal- and state-level sources for a deeper search. The level of search for healthcare sanctions utilized is based on the location and the risk involved.

    Healthcare workers' level 2 background check is a step up from a Level 1 check by scouring databases owned by 38 states. These databases list those who have been exempted from Medicaid coverage and the reasons to justify this. A Level 2 background check contains lists from states of people who aren't eligible for Medicare coverage due to deciding to opt-out of the program. Alongside levels 1 and 2 searches, the Level 3 health sanctions check broadens the search and includes State Board Disciplinary Actions sources and the state abuse registry.

    Fun fact: Did you know med students must also undergo background checks? Read more about our med student background checks here.

    What is the Turnaround Time For a Nursing Background Check?

    Nurse background check turnaround times vary dependent on the type of search and number of searches required and the geographical location of the candidates, and whether county court records have been digitized.

    The turnaround time can vary depending on the providers. The Koleman Group LLC is one of them. The Koleman Group LLC, we strive to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task by identifying new data sources and making them easier to access. Our average time to complete a background check in the field of background check services is as below:

    • Social Security Number Trace The result is instantaneous
    • Nationwide Criminal Database SearchF for information in a matter of seconds if it is clear or 1-3 business day
    • Sex Offender Registry Search: Instant if clear or within 1-3 business day
    • Domestic Watch List search: Instant, 1-3 business day
    • County Criminal Court Search:1 to 3 business days
    • Professional License Verification Between 3 and 5 Business Days
    • Education verification Between 3 and 5 Business Days
    • Employer Verifications Between 3 and 5 Business Days
    • Drug screening 10-panel between 3 and 5 business days
    • Healthcare Sanction Check 1 hour if it is clear or 1 to 3 business day


    State & Federal Laws To Know

    There are numerous procedures to screen potential applicants in the field of healthcare. However, it is crucial to comply with federal and local, state, and federal regulations and laws. For instance, there are state- or local ban-the-box laws that regulate how employers can request criminal information. There are also new laws on marijuana and drug use and legalization initiatives regularly popping up in different jurisdictions, affecting drug screening.

    Employers also must adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulations when they use an external screener for nurses' background checks. The FCRA obliges employers to supply a background check disclosure and authorization forms before completing the screening. In addition, if an employer decides to deny or terminate employment due to background check results, you must adhere to the adverse decision procedure. This involves providing the applicant or the employee with a copy of the background check results.

    Create a screening policy that considers both federal and local laws. Then, ensure that you check all applicants for the job in the same way. This will ensure that your business employs nurses' background checks consistently and compliantly to make informed hiring choices.

    How To Request A Background Check for Nursing

    There are a variety of methods to obtain a nurse background check, including:

    Visit the State and County Superior Court or Sheriff's Office. You can visit the Superior Court in your area to obtain a record search report for the specific county or request a search through the State Bureau of investigation. But, county records may not include criminal activity from other counties. However, not all state departments provide criminal records to a central state database. You may also have information that is outdated or insufficient.

    If you opt for the DIY method, take care. There are no-cost background check services advertised on the internet. While it might be tempting to look up these open databases, they might not be suitable for filling out employment applications.

    They are examining the OIG databases for sanctions. The OIG's database of sanctions can be searched online to find those who are excluded from the list. The search results can be confirmed using the use of a Social Security number, but it is not the case all the time. Social Security numbers are not accessible for all entries in the list of exclusions, and applicants may give an incorrect Social Security number to avoid being identified.

    It employs an accredited background screening company. The most efficient way to obtain an extensive healthcare background check is to use an agency that can comply with the regulations for screening and comply with standards. This can help you create an honest and consistent screening process that allows you to make better-informed decisions and ensure conformity.

    Ensure that patients are safe and in compliance with nursing background checks from The Koleman Group LLC.

    Background checks will help your healthcare company find qualified nurses to ensure high-quality treatment and secure your patients. They also assist you in complying with federal, state, and local regulations and laws that pertain to the healthcare sector. Therefore, make sure you are thorough in this vital step in hiring.

    Koleman Group LLC's job screening solutions and healthcare sanctions tests can assist you in streamlining and make it easier for you to complete thorough searches, precise results, clear reports, and alerts for monitoring. 


    The information provided is educational only and does not provide legal advice. Therefore, we suggest you seek your attorney for legal concerns concerning your specific practice and compliance with the applicable laws.

    Updated on 2024-07-22 09:23:08 by larry coleman

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