Pre-Employment and Criminal Background Checks for Nurses

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP

May 5 2015

Nurses are the unsung heroes of the medical world, spending their time working directly with patients to ensure that orders from their doctors are carried out. Spending hours on their feet caring for others, these men and women are trusted implicitly by the people who seek treatment in a private practice or hospital. Patient trust, frequent consumer interaction, and easy access to prescription drugs have made criminal background checks for nurses essential.

Practices and hospitals must ensure that they are employing skilled and ethical nurses to provide the best care to patients, to keep their competitive edge, and to avoid litigation.

To establish that nursing candidates are qualified for a position, background screenings need to be extensive and thorough. They must also comply with regulations set by the Joint Commission, a non-profit organization that accredits and certifies health care organizations and programs in the United States.

Here are some common screening services ordered for job-seekers in the nursing profession:

Criminal History Search

A nurse should not have a criminal history that may endanger a patient, so criminal background checks for nurses must be very extensive. Along with a local or jurisdictional search, practices will need to run a multi-state criminal history search and a multi-state sex offender search, particularly if the nurse will be working in pediatric or geriatric departments.

A National Social Security Search will verify an applicant’s previous residences and may also provide additional county jurisdictions that should be checked for criminal records. A federal criminal history search is necessary to ensure the applicant has not committed any federal crime that may make them ineligible for holding a nursing position.

Verification of Education, Employment and Professional Licenses

Professional nursing requires many years of study and practical experience. Employing a nurse without the proper educational and professional qualifications puts patients in physical danger and can cause legal troubles for the employing institution. Therefore, it is pertinent that medical employers verify candidate degrees, certifications and licenses, and work experience before allowing the individual access to patients.

Drug Test

Drug testing is vital to the healthcare industry due to workers’ frequent exposure to prescriptions. Candidates who pass a drug screening may be less likely to engage in medication theft from a facility, and they may be more trustworthy in accurate distribution of medication to patients.

Healthcare-Specific Screenings

There are certain databases exclusive to this industry that need to be checked, such as the Fraud and Abuse Control Information System (FACIS ®) and the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) List of Excluded Individuals/Entities. These lists contain the names of people who are prohibited from working in the healthcare industry due to past indiscretions or illegal acts.

If a nurse passes all of these background checks, he or she might be a good investment for a practice or hospital. Right right screening provider will ensure your criminal background checks for nurses are seamless. These screens are necessary to an industry based in human care.

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Do you know:

  • Healthcare has one of the highest rates of fraud?
  • What percent of applicants have a criminal history?
  • How hit rates have changed over the past ten years?

About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record. To learn more about Tammy, visit

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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