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  1. Tate, Ellienne T. EdD, RN
  2. Moody, Karen PhD, RNC


ABSTRACT: The last decade has seen a number of trends effecting both the quality and quantity of the registered nursing workforce nationwide. Among these are a nursing shortage due to the aging of the nursing workforce and the general population, the resultant increase in the number of nursing students, and an increase in the number of problems with initial licensure based on criminal background checks. State boards of nursing protect citizens by regulating the education, licensure, and practice of registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. Although most jurisdictions conduct a criminal records search for initial licensure and ask candidates about their mental and physical fitness to safely practice the profession, Louisiana has drafted regulations to extend this authority to students upon entry to clinical nursing courses as well as at graduation and application for licensure. This article discusses the need for such regulation and the Louisiana State Board of Nursing initiative to address an increasingly more critical component of licensure, the criminal background check.