Background Checks on Nursing Assistants

As unfair as it sounds, nursing assistants will at some point early in their career be required to submit to various background checks, and maybe several times again during their career, either on a regular schedule or when they change employment. Background checks are an essential part of keeping the industry safe and protecting the state and employers from wrongful suit damages, and nurse assistants being part of the medical team are often singled out as a weak link, making background checks a valid technique for ensuring that only the most ethical and honest are employed.

The reason for background checks is both obvious and not so obvious, most nurse assistants agreeing that a check against the sexual offenders register should be compulsory, but most not quite understanding the need for background financial checks. In reality, nurse assistants are in a powerful position against patients and emotionally distressed families, and could if they wanted to cause a lot of concern. Background checks are one of the ways to minimize the risk of employing a person who should not be working in the health care industry.

Background checks mandated vary from state to state, as does the employment contract of nurse assistants, yet certain basics are almost always checked. The most common checks are for any criminal activity, whether it relates to violence or theft, since both set off red warning lights. A person who has been convicted of a violent crime or spousal abuse is not generally considered suitable for working in a position of trust with patients who are in a vulnerable state. Patients have the right to feel protected in a hospital or medical facility and nurse assistants who fail this type of background check are unlikely to offered employment.

Similarly, people who are not able to manage their finances, have been convicted of theft related offenses, or who have been declared bankrupt may be considered a risk to patients and their families. Nurse assistants typically spend 1-2 hours a day with most patients helping with grooming, bed changing, feeding, and other duties, and a great deal of trust can develop between patient and carer, consequently people with poor financial judgment have the potential to ask for financial assistance from their patients, and in extreme cases have been known to pressure patients into signing checks or guarantees. Financial background checks are intended to weed out these sorts of people.

Other background checks that look for driving offenses and drug offenses are also common in some situations, drugs being an obvious cause for concern. Driving problems indicate a lack of judgment, which can be a serious concern in a medical environment and though not often requested in relation to other background checks can be an indicator of problems that a clean criminal or financial background check wouldn’t establish.

Trainee nurse assistants should therefore expect to be asked for permission to conduct these checks, and if needed, records cleaned up or expunged before attempting to find work.

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