Background checks would reveal criminal backgrounds among nurses

  • Updated: October 11, 2013 - 6:10 PM

Legislature should reconsider bills introduced during the last session.

SAFEGUARD NURSING

Require license background checks

The Minnesota Board of Nursing’s mission is to “protect the public’s health and safety by providing reasonable assurance that the people who practice nursing are competent, ethical practitioners with the necessary knowledge and skills appropriate to their title and role.”

The Minnesota Organization of Registered Nurses believes that the Board of Nursing is committed to carrying out this mission, overseeing the 90,650 RNs and 23,700 LPNs currently registered in the state.

There have been questions raised about background checks for nurses (“Nurses in trouble get second chances,” Oct. 6). Currently the law requires nurses to self-report when applying for the initial license and every time they renew their licenses. A majority of employers perform background checks on nurses before hire, but not all.

During the last legislative session, two bills were introduced, SF588 and HR1002, that would require health-licensing boards to conduct a criminal-background check, including fingerprints, before an applicant receives a license. We believe this legislation would help ensure that nurses entering the profession are safe practitioners. These bills were re-referred to committees both in the House and Senate and should be heard during the upcoming session. Contact your legislators about this very important issue, and please continue to have faith in the nurses who care for you and your families. As an organization of registered nurses in Minnesota, we are dedicated to providing the safest possible care for you.

JENNIFER TUCKER

The writer is president of the Minnesota Organization of Registered Nurses.

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