Once I had begun the online application process to apply for a Texas nursing license, I was interested to learn that the application required me to present myself to the nearest Sheriff's office for fingerprinting. Never having had the opportunity for such an indignity in the past, this novel experience was indeed quite novel, and I left the Georgetown, Texas Sheriff's Department with a very official-looking set of fingerprints, paying the paltry sum of five dollars for the privilege.
Delving further into the application procedures found me calling the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing to ascertain the date on which I took my nursing board exams (good thing they didn't ask for my score!), as well as paying an additional fee to have an electronic verification of my Massachusetts license sent to the Texas Board of Nursing.
The fees for my new license application were as follows:
- Fingerprinting: $5.00
- Online application: $200.00
- Online license verification: $30.00
The most disconcerting aspect of this application was a question which required me to reveal if I have been treated or diagnosed in the last five years with Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Paranoid Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, or several other mental illnesses. While I understand the reasoning behind such questions (images of Nurse Ratched come to mind), it seems a grave violation of privacy to demand such personal and confidential medical/psychiatric information from a licensure applicant. While I'm not certain what may have occurred had I selected "yes" for a psychiatric treatment history, it seems fairly apparent that revealing such information would not necessarily win over the hearts and minds of the members of the Texas Board of Nursing who would be reviewing my application.
While I admit to feeling both inconvenienced and annoyed at the frankly burdensome nature of this process, I understand that it is indeed a privilege to practice as a nurse in any state or country, and both nursing education and licensure are difficult for a reason: to winnow down the applicants to the hearty few who can see the transaction through to the bitter end. From seeking admission to nursing school to surviving clinical to passing the nursing boards, nothing about becoming a nurse---or remaining one---is simple, and perhaps that is, in fact, for the best.
I will indeed be grateful to receive my Texas nursing license---and the rights and responsibilities therein---and will frankly breathe an enormous sigh of relief when the red tape has been sufficiently satisfied. It has been an intimidatingly complicated business, and obtaining that license will be a moment of great satisfaction indeed.