Criminal Background Check and Drug Screening
An offer of acceptance to the VCU School of Nursing (SON) is contingent upon the successful completion of a criminal background check (CBC) and drug screening and is required prior to matriculation into the nursing program. Students are also required to complete this process upon program re-entry subsequent to a leave of absence, program withdrawal or program separation.
After enrollment, all students must report any felony, misdemeanor, or court martial charges and convictions which occur during their enrollment to the Assistant Dean, Office of Student Success within 10 business days of occurrence. For criminal charges, a review committee will consider the nature of the underlying conduct resulting in the charge and make the determination as to whether to suspend the student pending resolution of the criminal proceeding. Criminal charges, by themselves, will not necessarily warrant denial of continued enrollment. Conviction of or failure to report a criminal offense may prevent a student from completing required clinical training experiences and/or result in dismissal or suspension from the program. It is the responsibility of the student to provide documentation of the final adjudication to the aforementioned administrators.
The SON requires CBC and drug screening for all students prior to enrollment. Background checks and drug screening are conducted to ensure that nursing students are able to engage in clinical rotations and other critical aspects of the programs.
The SON also conducts the screenings to:
- Respond to regulatory mandates and the requirements of the School of Nursing’s affiliated clinical facilities.
- Bolster the continuing trust of the public in the nursing profession.
The CBC and drug screening are a mandatory component of the pre-matriculation process. The final decision regarding matriculation of an applicant will be based on the information in the CBC/drug screening reports.
Factors involved in the final decision may include, but are not limited to:
- The nature, circumstances, and frequency of any reported offense(s).
- The length of time since the offense(s).
- Available information that addresses efforts at rehabilitation.
- The accuracy of the information provided by the applicant.
Individuals who do not give permission to the conduct of the criminal background check/drug screening or who fail to provide the reports as required will not be allowed to matriculate in the School of Nursing.
An independent vendor has been identified by the SON to provide the criminal background and drug screening. Each applicant will be responsible for requesting the report and submitting payment for the report.
- The CBC and drug screening report shall span the prior seven-year period, and shall include all convictions at a felony or misdemeanor level.
- The information obtained through the CBC and drug screening will not become part of a student’s academic file and will remain confidential unless the findings result in an institutional action by the SON.
- The CBC and drug screening document will be destroyed upon the student’s graduation/separation from the institution.
- The vendor sends the CBC and drug screening reports electronically to the Office of Student Success (OSS) in any decision that may adversely affect the individual.
- Validated background reports found to be in conflict with responses in the application may be grounds for withdrawal of an offer of enrollment based upon submission of false or misleading information on the application.
- The existence of a conviction or a positive drug screen will not necessarily result in a denial of enrollment to the School of Nursing. Instead each case will be reviewed by a committee other than the admissions committee and evaluated on its facts.
- Students who are admitted to the VCU School of Nursing with a conviction or a positive drug screen may not be able to complete the program if their conviction prevents securement of clinical practicum sites.
- Students are advised that nursing licensure and subsequent prescription and DEA certification (for NP students) are not guaranteed upon graduation and board certification, but are considered by the state board of nursing in which the individual is applying.
The review committee shall include, but is not limited to the:
- Assistant Dean, Office of Student Success,
- Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (or designee),
- Two faculty members and,
- University Counsel as needed to clarify legal processes.
The review committee is responsible for making determinations regarding acceptance or denial of enrollment and communicating the determination to the student.
- Any determination to deny enrollment will be communicated to the student in writing, giving the reason for the denial and allowing the student five business days from the date the communication was sent to respond to the determination before it becomes final.
- The student’s response should be sent to the Assistant Dean, Office of Student Success and should include any relevant information concerning the CBC and/or drug screen to be considered by the committee, including any challenge to the accuracy of the report.
- The committee shall consider the response, and shall issue a final determination within 72 hours of receiving the student’s response.