POLICY FOR CRIMINAL BACKGROUND SCREENING
The Nursing Department Policy follows the guidelines of the Caregivers Criminal History Screening Program established by the New Mexico Department of Health.† This program was established by law (Chapter 29-17-2 through 29-17-5 NMSA 1978 Amended) to ensure to the highest degree possible the prevention of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of care recipients and the law further stipulates that persons convicted of certain crimes may not work with care recipients.†
Following selection for the nursing program, the student will complete a Background Affidavit, Authorization for Release of Information and Criminal History Data Sheet.† Students will take the data sheet and a photo ID (driverís license or Passport) to WNMU Campus Police Department.† Students will be fingerprinted by Campus Police Department personnel.† Campus Police will submit fingerprints to the New Mexico Department of Public Safety and the FBI.† The criminal background histories will be returned to Campus Police and forwarded to the Nursing Department.†
If a clinical agency utilized in the first clinical nursing course also requires a background check completed at its facility, the student will complete the Background Affidavit, Authorization for Release of Information and Criminal History Data Sheet.† The fingerprinting will be done by the agency prior to the student beginning clinicals.†
The following convictions disqualify an applicant for entry into the Associate Degree Nursing Program at Western New Mexico University.†
2. Trafficking in controlled substances.
3. Kidnapping, false imprisonment, aggravated assault or aggravated battery.
4. Rape, criminal sexual penetration, criminal sexual contact, incest, indecent exposure, or other related sexual offenses.†
5. Crimes involving adult abuse, neglect or financial exploitation.† (The Nursing Department will interpret crimes of domestic violence as falling in this category)
6. Crimes involving child abuse or neglect.†
7. Two or more convictions of crimes involving alcohol or substance use or possession.† (added by the Nursing Department)
Nursing Department Reconsideration
The applicant whose New Mexico or nationwide criminal history reflects a disqualifying conviction may request an informal administrative reconsideration from the Nursing Department.
Procedure for requesting reconsideration
1. An applicant given notice of a disqualifying conviction must submit a written request for reconsideration within thirty (30) days as determined by the postmark from the date of notice issued by the Nursing Department.
2. If the applicant wishes to submit and have considered additional documentation, that additional documentation must be included with the request for reconsideration.
Documentation submitted may include any of the following:
a. Credible and reliable evidence of the actual disposition of any arrest for which the nationwide criminal history record was incomplete.†
b. The personís age at the time of each disqualifying conviction.
c. Any mitigating circumstances when the offense was committed.
d. Any court imposed sentence or punishment and, if completed, when completed.
e. Any rehabilitation since the offense.
f. The personís full employment history since the disqualifying conviction.
g. Other matters as the person may wish to submit.
The reconsideration hearing is intended to be an informal review of written documentation.† It will be conducted by a quorum of nursing faculty.† The nursing faculty may accept the student into the Associate Degree Nursing Program based upon the completed request for reconsideration and all supporting documents submitted.† Consensus of the faculty will be required for acceptance into the program.†
The following factors may be considered.†
1. Total number of disqualifying convictions
2. Time elapsed since the last disqualifying conviction and/or since completion of all penalties.
3. Circumstances of crime including whether violence was involved.
4. Activities evidencing rehabilitation, including but not limited to substance abuse and other rehabilitation programs.
5. Whether conviction was expunged by the court or whether an unconditional pardon was granted.
6. False or misleading statement(s) about any conviction in the signed declaration.
7. Evidence that the applicant poses no risk of harm to the health and safety of care recipients, students, or faculty.
8. Age of applicant at time of disqualifying conviction.
Grounds for Reconsideration Clearance
The Nursing Department may accept the applicant into the Associate Degree Nursing Program where the request for reconsideration and accompanying documentation clearly demonstrates that the applicant has satisfied one of the following three grounds for a clearance determination.
Inaccuracy:† The nationwide criminal history record inaccurately reflects a disqualifying conviction.
No Risk of Harm:† Entry of the student with a disqualifying conviction into the Associate Degree Nursing Program presents no risk of harm to care recipients, students or faculty.
No Bearing on Fitness:† The disqualifying conviction does not directly bear upon the students fitness for performance within the Nursing Student Guidelines.†
The findings of the faculty with regards to reconsideration are binding and may not be appealed further.
Approved By:††††††††† Policy Committee
††††††††† †† Date:††††††††††† May 1, 2003