The purpose of this policy is to assure the safety and well-being of patients, students, faculty and staff in the clinical and academic environments and to attest to clinical agencies the students' eligibility to participate in clinical activities. This policy applies to all undergraduate and graduate students, on-ground or online, enrolled in a program of study that has a clinical component.
Background investigations will be conducted as a condition of enrollment for admitted undergraduate and graduate students to participate in clinical courses. Enrollment in clinical courses and placement in clinical agencies are contingent upon successful completion of the background investigation. In addition, serious results of this investigation may affect candidacy for the licensure and certification examinations and employability in field of study.
- Newly admitted students need to complete these requirements prior to or within six weeks of matriculation. Exceptions may occur on a program basis.
- Students in the accelerated nursing (ACE) program need to complete these requirements prior to the first day of class.
- Students who have not been enrolled for more than one semester (not including summer term) will be required to repeat the background investigation at their cost.
- Special permission may be given to registered nurses who will be remaining in their place of employment for all clinical nursing courses and meet the background investigation requirements for their workplace. NMC may request that the student submit a certified letter from the workplace human relations department stating that they have satisfactorily met all requirements for eligibility to participate in clinical activities at that site.
All background investigations and drug screening will be kept strictly confidential and disclosed only to those who have a legitimate educational interest in their contents or for any other purpose permitted by FERPA or state law. Any breach of confidentiality will be considered serious and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken. Background investigation records will be retained for at least ten (10) years after the student leaves Nebraska Methodist College.
The investigation will include, but may not be limited to, a combination of the following required screening for every state and county of residence:
- County Criminal Record Search
- Alias Name Search
- Found Wants and Warrants
- Found Protection Orders
- Residential History Search
- Social Security Number Search
- Abuse Registry (Nebraska and on-ground students only)
- Sex Offender Registry
- Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Cumulative Sanction Report
- General Services Administration (GSA) Excluded Parties Listing System
Permission to Conduct the Investigation. Permission to conduct this required background investigation will be obtained prior to initial course enrollment from either the student or, if a minor (under nineteen (18) years old), the student's parent or legal guardian. A minor claiming emancipation status must provide legal documentation to prove this status.
Each person will have access to a copy of "Your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act" at http://www.verifiedcredentials.com. The investigation will be conducted prior to or within six (6) weeks of matriculation.
The following forms are found online at www.verifiedcredentials.com and must be completed: :
- "Disclosure and Authority to Release Information" form.
- Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
- Adult/Child Abuse Protective Services Central Registries' "Release of Information" form.
- If student is below the age of 19, the "Parents/Legal Guardian Acknowledgment and Authorization" form is required prior to ordering a background check report.
Annual Letter of Attestation. Annually, students will be required to submit to their Program Director a signed statement attesting that there have been no changes to their background investigation record,.. In most programs, this will be combined with the program handbook signature page. These attestations forms will be retained by the Program Director based on accreditation standards for student documentation.
Outcome of the Background Investigation. (Note: The outside vendor conducting the background investigation is not responsible for eligibility decisions.)
If the back ground investigation results indicate adverse information:
- The background investigation coordinator will notify the admitted student (or the admitted student's parent/guardian) with an "Adverse Letter of Notification" sent to the student's NMC email. If the student is a minor, the parent/guardian may be notified if requested.
- Within seven (7) days of the date of this written notice:
- The student or parents of a minor student may contact the Academic Dean or Program Director to discuss the adverse information.
- The student will provide a written explanation of the adverse information.
- The student may contest the results of the investigation. The parents and/or student must directly notify the vendor, Verified Credentials, to contest the results of the adverse information. Detailed contact information will be provided in the "Adverse Letter of Notification".
- Failure to complete any part of this process in the described time frame will result in a hold being placed on course registration and may result in dismissal from the program of study.
- Until a final decision is made, the individual will not be allowed to participate in clinical courses.
- If the student and/or parent contest the results of the investigation, the vendor, Verified Credentials, is required to re-investigate the disputed information within ten (10) business days from the date of the student's dispute of the report. The re-investigation report will be sent to the background investigation coordinator.
- A determination will be made regarding the student's eligibility for clinical course participation and licensure/certification.
- The Program Director will meet with the student. The goal of this meeting will be to verify the information is correct, to hear the student's explanation, to direct the student to the licensure/certification agency for consultation.
- In consultation with the Academic Dean, the Program Director will determine clinical eligibility. Consideration will be given to:
- Number of convictions;
- Nature, seriousness and date(s) of occurrence of the violation(s);
- Relevance of the crime committed relative to healthcare profession standards;
- State or federal requirements relative to the healthcare profession;
- All known information regarding the student, including the written explanation;
- Any other evidence demonstrating an ability to perform clinical and academic expectations competently and free from posing a threat to the health and safety of others.
- In the event serious crimes, such as felony conviction, theft, drug related offenses, fraud, sex crime, conviction involving violence or weapons, or repeat offenses, the Academic Dean will convene a meeting with the Dean's Council for further investigation and provide a recommendation to the Program Director. This may involve consultation with the human resources professionals and/or the institutional compliance officer.
- The student will be notified of the outcome in writing.
NOTE: Any identified misrepresentation, falsification, or material omission of information from the application discovered during the acceptance process and deliberation of clinical course eligibility may result in exclusion of the student from continued clinical participation or immediate dismissal.
ADMINISTRATION AND INTERPRETATIONS: Questions about this policy and procedure may be directed to the institutional compliance officer.
AMENDMENTS OR TERMINATION OF THIS POLICY: Nebraska Methodist College reserves the right to modify, amend, or terminate this policy at any time.