Nursing License Defense
We Defend Nurses Against Disciplinary Action By The California Board Of Registered Nursing
1. What is the regulatory body that disciplines nurses in California?
Nurses are regulated by the California Board of Registered Nursing, known as the BRN for short. It is a subsidiary entity of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. There are nine members on the BRN. Each is charged with protecting the public as regards nurses.
Pursuant to the Nursing Practice Act, the BRN does the following:
- Grants registered nurse licenses
- Exercises disciplinary powers over nurses, such as suspension or revocation of licenses (such as those nurses who have been arrested, charged or convicted of having committed certain crimes or who have engaged in misconduct)
- Regulates the education and practice of nursing overall
2. On what grounds can I be disciplined by the Nursing Board?
The BRN can take disciplinary action against a registered nurse in California when he or she commits an act or engages in conduct that is unprofessional. Such conduct is unprofessional because it can have adverse effects on that person’s ability to carry out his or her duties as a nurse.
Unprofessional conduct can be any of the following:
- Carelessness as regards blood-borne illnesses
- Discipline by another state nursing board
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Fraudulent behavior
- Gross negligence
- Suffering a criminal conviction or even an arrest
3. What kind of criminal convictions can trigger disciplinary action?
The BRN can take action against the license of a nurse who has engaged in:
- Violent conduct, including assault, battery or other abusive behavior
- Crimes involving moral turpitude, such as theft, fraud or sexual misconduct
- Drug-related offenses, such as possession for sales or just simple possession
A conviction can include entering a plea of no contest or guilty to a criminal offense. However, even if you are not convicted of the offense, the BRN will want to look at the charging documents, including the police report, in making its determination, possibly taking action even if you plead to a lesser offense. For purposes of BRN disciplinary action, convictions include guilty pleas that are deferred under Penal Code Section 1000 (deferred entry of judgment) or grants of probation that are subsequently expunged pursuant to Penal Code Section 1203.4.
4. Pursuant to the Nursing Practice Act, the BRN can take any of the following actions (in ascending order of severity):
- Issue a public reproval; that is, publicly call you out for your misconduct, effectively weakening you as a candidate for a future position if a potential employer sees your record
- Place you on probation (if you have a drug-related conviction, you may be ordered to subject yourself to random drug testing)
- Suspend your license and place you on probation
- Revoke your nursing license
Additionally, persons who are disciplined may also be liable for costs associated with investigating the matter and enforcing disciplinary costs, which can be prohibitively expensive.
5. What can Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, licensing defense attorneys do for me?
Our team will defend you vigorously in the face of charges that threaten your license. We will make a powerful presentation that you ought not to lose your license, meet with licensing officials, conference with them, present documents and make solid arguments in mitigation and represent you at any and all disciplinary hearings. If necessary, we will represent you at trial before an administrative law judge. Our Torrance nursing license defense lawyers will do everything possible to make sure your vocation is not compromised by disciplinary action.