The medical field attracts many job candidates. Some join to help make a difference in the lives of the vulnerable. Others are lured by the often good salaries and benefits that come attached.
Whatever the reason, even felons can be found to have this ambition. Hospitals offer a wide range of work opportunities. Besides the classic doctor and nurse jobs, there are also clerical, janitorial, and finance positions.
However, like many other jobs, some probing into a job candidate’s suitability is often done. This then begs the questions, do hospitals run background checks?
Background checks are investigations into a person’s past. They can cover several areas. For felons, the most critical is the criminal background check.
This allows a potential employer to find out about any criminal past. These revelations can harm job candidacy.
Felons already face challenges in other areas when trying to get jobs in healthcare. The most lucrative positions, like nursing, are tough to secure due to licensing. Many state licensing boards are unwilling to accept applicants with criminal records.
This means that felons often have to make do with jobs in other departments. They may however still pay well and offer generous benefits.
Before a felon however pursues any hospital job, they should learn what to expect. Let’s begin with the reasons hospitals may require background reports on potential employees.
Why Hospitals May Run Background Checks
Background reports serve two main purposes. The first is to verify information already gleaned from a job candidate’s application, resume, and interview. The second reason is to discover any lies or omissions.
Both these reasons help to affirm a person’s honesty. No employer wants to engage a dishonest character. Such people may carry on this behavior into their work activities and endanger the business.
Generally, people consider those with criminal pasts to likely repeat bad behavior. From defying authority figures to theft, being a felon can make you seem a bad hire.
Hospitals are a highly sensitive environment. Patients are often in a vulnerable state and medical information is considered confidential. Having a dishonest person caring for sick people and with access to private data can be risky.
To help ensure they are hiring the best people for the job, hospitals will conduct background checks. This is normally done as part of a conditional job offer. This means candidates will likely have passed the interview stage.
It is therefore always advisable, to be honest when making your application and during your interview. When asked about a criminal past, or if there is anything your employer needs to know. Being open and divulging the truth is best.
Hospitals also have to contend with liability issues. If a patient or another employee is harmed by a bad hire, they may be forced to make compensation. To avoid such and legal complications, background checks of employees is often mandatory.
However, not all checks are as intense. Let’s look at the various types of checks and what they involve.
Types of Background Checks Hospitals Use
Background checks will cover multiple aspects of a person’s life. The depth of the investigation will likely depend on what kind of job you are being considered for. The state and organizational policies governing the position will also determine the mix of checks performed.
Let’s consider the various types of checks a job candidate may face:
Criminal Background History
Violent and sexual offenders are the most affected by this. They are often considered a potential danger to patients. Those convicted of financial crimes and fraud may also find it difficult to find work in finance, accounting, and records departments.
Those with drug convictions may also be tough to consider in any position that grants them access to medications. Hospitals will also typically check sex offender registries. Sex offenders cannot be hired in an environment with vulnerable patients.
Drug abuse and theft of narcotics are common in hospital settings. Even among senior staff like doctors. Screening helps identify risky candidates who may end up having access to storerooms and patient medication.
As mentioned, some professions require licenses. This check ensures that the candidate has a valid license to practice in the role they are applying for. This verification check can also cover degree certificates and confirming other academic claims.
Exclusion and Sanction Screening
This is to ascertain if a professional has had any complaints of misconduct filed against them. These complaints may be filed with the licensing board or certain industry bodies. Federal and state databases must also be checked to avoid the hospital being excluded from certain funding.
Role Specific Checks
Driving history checks may be required for jobs involving vehicles, like ambulance drivers. A credit history check will also likely be done on those in senior and finance-related positions.
This list of checks is not exhaustive. You may want to check state and organizational policies governing the position you are applying for.
The more sensitive and senior the job, the more comprehensive the background check will be. There are 4 levels of background checks that vary in depth and detail. Level 1 checks are the most basic with the others becoming progressively thorough.
How to Boost Chances of Securing a Hospital Job
Not all states handle the issue of criminal history the same. Some will make your records accessible indefinitely, while others have time limits. This means that after a certain number of years your records no longer appear in background reports.
It is also possible to get your records cleared through an expungement. The requirements for this kind of relief also tends to vary according to state.
Running your own background check is a good way to confirm just what potential employers will discover. You can then consult a lawyer to see if you qualify for a pardon or expungement.
If you cannot legally claim to not have a criminal history, then try other ways of projecting a good image. Dress well for the interview, speak respectfully, and be honest about your past. Take responsibility for your actions but place an emphasis on the positive changes made since.
There is no legal requirement for hospitals to run background checks. States typically only make this a requirement for specific healthcare positions.
Hospitals however have to worry about liability issues and will make it mandatory organizational policy.
So whether you have a felony or misdemeanor convictions, know that these will likely come out.
Do whatever you can to cultivate a good image. From doing volunteer work to earning some academic certification, present yourself as a good candidate. This along with the tips above may help boost your chances of employment.
However, keep in mind that this is a tough field to get into with a criminal past. Moderate your expectations even as you make this effort.
Should you be unsuccessful, remember that there are many other good jobs you can qualify for. When job searching, apply widely. The more chances you take, the better odds of securing a job that will become a promising career.