Criminal Conviction Eligibility
Individuals with criminal histories are not automatically prohibited from obtaining a nursing license in Iowa. A prior criminal offense is only disqualifying if (1) the actions taken in furtherance of the offense are customarily performed within the scope of practice of nursing, or (2) the circumstances under which the offense was committed are circumstances customary to nursing. Additionally, even if you have one or more potentially disqualifying convictions, you are entitled to submit proof of rehabilitation to the Board to demonstrate your current fitness to safely practice nursing.
If you are considering applying for a nursing license and have not yet submitted a completed application, you have the option of asking the Board to determine whether one or more of your criminal convictions would render you ineligible for an LPN, RN, or ARNP license. This request is called a “petition for eligibility determination,” and the form and instructions for submitting the petition can be found here: Eligibility Petition Form & Instructions
Prospective applicants with criminal convictions are not required to submit a petition for eligibility determination before applying for a license. If you are already well into a nurse program or close to graduating it is worth considering whether this is necessary. Applicants can also choose to disclose their convictions on their application for licensure, and include with their application (1) the criminal complaint and judgment of conviction for each separate offense, (2) a brief personal statement about the conditions that led to the convictions, and (3) all evidence of rehabilitation they wish the board to consider.
Pursuant to Iowa Code section 272C.15(2), the Board has provided a list of specific convictions that could, under certain circumstances, disqualify an applicant from receiving a license. That list can be found here: List of Potentially Disqualifying Criminal Convictions
Effective 1/1/2021, updated 4/28/21