Standards and Procedures for Drug Screening and Criminal Background Checks
Contact Maria Ramos at 872-3022, First Floor, Room 1.602
South Texas College has screening requirements for all Nursing and Allied Health (NAH) clinical/practicum programs. These requirements include pre-enrollment background checks including a criminal search and drug/alcohol screening. The rationale for these requirements for students participating in clinical and practicum courses is based on the concept of due diligence and competency assessment of all individuals whose assignments bring them in contact with patients/clients, confidential personal and medical information, or clinical affiliation employees. Competency extends beyond technical skills to an individual’s criminal and substance abuse history. This approach ensures uniform compliance with Joint Commission standards pertaining to human resource management. Moreover, the public is demanding greater diligence in light of the national reports of deaths resulting from medical errors.
Background Checks include social security number verification, criminal search, employment verification (if older than 21years), violent sexual offender and predator registry search, and data bases regarding exclusion from federal and state programs, and homeland security specialty designated nationals search. Criminal background checks should review a person’s entire criminal history and include the cities and counties of all known residences.
All background checks must be conducted after admission to the clinical program. The Dean of Nursing and Allied Health Division must receive verification of satisfactory results by the designated deadline and prior to the student’s enrollment in the program to which the student is applying. Background checks will be honored for the duration of the student’s enrollment in the nursing or allied health program if the participating student has not had a break in enrollment at the college. A break in enrollment is defined as nonattendance of one or more semesters. Students re-entering or changing programs must repeat the prescreening if they have not attended a NAH program for more than one term.
Type of Check
The Vocational Nursing Program and the Associate Degree Nursing Program must complete the FAST PASS application in order to process the background. You must contact Maria E. Ramos at 872-3022 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for the information needed in order for you to schedule an appointment for your fingerprinting.
Associate Degree Nursing students are recommended to start the process when they are enrolled in the introduction to nursing class.
Vocational Nursing students are recommended to start the process before applying to the program.
All other program students must complete background check after you have been selected to the program through PreCheck.com an online student background check service.
All students are required to complete and submit a criminal disclosure statement to the Clinical Affairs Specialist upon acceptance to their program. If you declared anything on the disclosure statement you must contact Maria E. Ramos as soon as possible to get the information you need in order to start the clearance process through the proper agency. Some programs take 3 months up to a year for clearance. You must have the clearance letter in order for you to start the program.
It is the student's responsibility to pay the required fees and taxes.
The Clinical Affairs Specialist will be sent a confirmation email that the report is completed and ready for review. Process takes approximately 3 days when background check is paid online with a credit card or debit card (longer if paid by mail in money order). Any negative report items can be disputed and/or resolved by the student directly with PreCheck.com or call 1-800-203-1654.
All Students with criminal histories that may affect their eligibility for certification or licensure in a health profession in Texas will be advised on procedures to obtain eligibility approval from licensing/registry agency. Students are encouraged to obtain eligibility documentation prior to application and acceptance to a Nursing/Allied Health program.
Students with criminal histories may not be able to participate in their selected program until they have completed a pre-application review from the appropriate state/national agency indicating they are eligible to take the required licensing or certification examination required at completion of the program. The Clinical Affairs Specialist, Dean of Nursing and Allied Health Division and department Program Chairs are available to assist students with criminal histories in initiating the pre-application review.
Only the licensing or certification boards may rule on a student’s eligibility for licensure or certification. A review can take from 3 months to 2 years to complete. All boards charge a review fee that varies from $50 to $200. Furthermore, even following clearance for test eligibility, clinical and practicum affiliation sites may independently refuse to accept students with criminal histories. All crimes greater than a speeding ticket are of concern to licensing/certification boards, employers, and health care facilities.
If a licensing/registry body approves the individual to take the licensing/credentialing exam, the individual may participate in the clinical rotation. However, it is the student’s responsibility to be aware that the disqualifications listed above are used for employment eligibility by most health care facilities/hospitals in Texas. Even though a student is cleared and obtains a health professions license or certificate, employers may deny employment based on prior criminal history.
NAH Division programs without a state/national credentialing or licensing authority, may request a program clinical affiliate review to provide direction on student circumstances for approval. Confidentiality of students will be ensured in this review. Following approval from a clinical/practicum affiliate, the student may participate in the program. The Dean of Nursing/Allied Health Division will conduct this review.
Dual Enrollment (Patient Care Technology Program) Background Check
High school students participated in the duel enrollment Patient Care Technology program will have a modified background check completed by the college Clinical Affairs Specialist to include: (1) an on line Department of Public Services criminal history search; (2) a Texas Nurse Aid Registry search; and, (3) a search of the Medicaid and Title XX and the Fraud Prevention and Detection data bases. There is no charge for this background check to the student or school district. In addition, student participants must provide the Clinical Affairs Specialist an original official ID (Drivers License or state ID only, a school ID not accepted) card and an original social security card with current signature.
Allocation of Cost
Each student must individually bear the cost of these requirements.
Verification of compliance and Record keeping
No permanent detailed record on student background is maintained by the college. The Clinical Affairs Specialist has access to online report and findings during student’s participation in the program. Clinical affiliates will not be given direct access to this report by the college. The Clinical Affairs specialist will maintain a record of date completion of background check in student’s file during participation in the program.
The Dean Nursing/Allied Health division or Clinical Affairs Specialist is the college official who will receive all initial reports concerning drug/alcohol screening and criminal background. The Clinical Affairs Specialist will notify all respective program chairs of student’s eligibility to enroll in a clinical program.
Upon written request from an authorized representative of a clinical affiliate, verification of compliance with these standards will be sent to the designated representative of the clinical affiliate prior to the clinical rotation start date. Verification will be accomplished by sending a letter from the Dean of Nursing/Allied Health, Program Chair or Clinical Affairs Specialist on letterhead stating that these standards have been met by the student or students, listing the student’s full name and clinical rotation start date. If more than one student is attending a clinical rotation, a comprehensive list with all the student names and supervising faculty may be submitted.
The Dean, Nursing/Allied Health Division, will maintain all records and a confidential database concerning students’ criminal histories and drug/alcohol test results. This information will be filed in a secured area to ensure confidentiality and will not be released to any third party without the written consent and knowledge of the student.
All records (electronic) maintained by the Dean of Nursing/Allied Health Division regarding Drug/Alcohol Screening and Criminal Background Checks will be destroyed upon the student’s graduation or withdrawal from the College. Students are required to maintain paper documents related to clinical screening requirements for the duration of their enrollment and participation in the NAH program.