According to a 2012 report conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 19 percent of 1,611 nurse aides–300–who were disciplined for abuse, neglect and theft at nursing homes in 2010 had criminal records which could have been picked up by a background check.
The report uncovered that 53 percent of the disciplined nurse aides were convicted of crimes against property, such as burglary, larceny or writing bad checks. In addition, 14.3 percent of the disciplined nurse aides had been convicted of crimes against persons, such as assault, battery and rape. Three nurse aides with disciplinary findings were registered sex offenders. Moreover, 7.2 percent of the disciplined nurse aides had been convicted of drug-related crimes.
Nursing professor Charlene Harrington at the University of California pointed out that nurse aides receive minimum pay and often work under little supervision, stating that “The first line of defense is to not put someone on the job who’s been convicted of some awful crime.”