Nursing as a profession is a rewarding career despite the challenges that come with it. In California, licensing and regulation of registered nurses are made by the California Board of Registered Nursing. The Board is Responsible for maintaining high-quality standards for nurses to ensure the safety of the public.
As a nurse practitioner or a licensed vocational nurse, you dedicate your life to caring for others. Registered nurses make up a considerable proportion of the medical field. Their primary work is giving primary care and providing health and wellness education to the public to prevent health issues.
Nurses also administer anesthetics, work in intensive care units, assist during surgery, and assist in rehabilitation efforts. The duties can expose you to stressful operations that can even endanger your well-being and those of your patients. According to the California Board of Registered Nursing, if charges are against you for misconduct, you will face disciplinary actions, including license suspension or revocation.
As a nurse practitioner, your license is essential to your continued ability to serve in the medical field, and its revocation can lead to an end in your career. In case you face alleged misconduct or disciplinary action when in California, you should be worried about the measures the Board of Registered Nursing could take.
You, therefore, need legal representation from an attorney who will guide through the process. The Legal Guardian is a law firm whose attorneys can represent you in your hearing and defend the allegations. The law firm has successfully defended many cases involving different allegations presented before the BRN and has managed to have its clients retain their nursing licenses.
The Mission of The Board of Registered Nursing
The Board of Registered Nursing has the mandate to issue licenses to people who meet their education and other professional standards. The Board also regulates the nursing industry to ensure that a high level of professionalism and care is maintained to protect the patients. To accomplish the mission, they have set some guidelines to guide them in taking action against you if you deem unsafe, negligent, or incompetent in discharging your duties as a nurse practitioner. The guidelines give detailed information on the type of action to be taken against you depending on the kind of violation of your nursing practice act or the profession and business code.
Actions that the Board can take against you are citations and fines, mere reprimand, suspension of your license, or putting your license in probation. For the Board to take any of the above actions against you, they have to consider factors. Such factors include the class of complaint, type of harm you have inflicted on the patient, the existence of any criminal record, the severity of your offense, previous accusations on your professional career, and the period elapsed since prior violations of registered nursing standards.
If you have a different criminal case underway, say misdemeanor or felony, the nursing board will have to comply with any of the sentencing conditions that the court has decided on you. Despite the harsh penalties that the board or registered nurses or the court may decide on you, it does not mean that you have no room for negotiations.
Your case can be successfully negotiated by an experienced attorney who understands the nursing laws, which will expose any weakness in the evidence presented against you at your hearing. The Legal Guardian has attorneys who can represent you at your hearing by presenting mitigating evidence that will favor your case and will give evidence on any effort you are willing to take to prevent the Board from suspending your license.
California Nursing Practitioner License Requirements
For you to practice as a nurse practitioner in California, you must have a legal license. You must apply for it before approval. After you meet your education requirements, you undertake a National Council Licensing Examination, pass a criminal background examination, and receive your nursing license.
Disclosure of Convictions
The application process for a nurse practitioner license may be complicated, especially if you have had previous convictions. The California law requires that you, as an applicant, disclose the criminal convictions, if any, including out of state convictions. Dismissed or expunged convictions must also be revealed, and criminal court diversion and deferred entry of judgment.
Unfortunately, most nurses do not disclose their criminal convictions during the license application process, only for the crimes to be discovered by the Board of Nursing License after being denied their license. If you provide false information during the application process, you can be referred to criminal prosecution for perjury.
If it also happens that you apply for a nursing license, disclose your previous convictions but fail to provide evidence that you underwent through a rehabilitation process. Then you may be denied your license. In that case, you must involve your attorney from The Legal Guardian to help you acquire your license successfully.
You will not be denied your license as a nurse practitioner because of mere convictions, but it will happen if your previous convictions are related to your profession in the healthcare field. For the Board to determine the type of crime and if your license will be issued, it considers recent crime, severity and nature of the crime, and whether you applied for any rehabilitation.
The above conditions will help the Board determine whether you are capable of practicing as a nurse practitioner. Some of the offenses that may make the Board deny you a license are sex offense, dishonesty, deceit, and fraud. The violations make you unfit to serve in the public health welfare and safety.
How to File an Appeal After You Are Denied Your Nursing License
When you apply for your license and the Board denies you, they issue you a letter to notify you of the same. From the day you receive your denial letter, you are given sixty days to appeal the denial. In case the Board skips the denial letter, they issue you a "Statement of Issues" with details of how the Board rationale for its decision.
If you do not apply within the sixty days after the denial letter is issued, you will have to wait for one year to reapply for an appeal. The appealing process requires you to have a knowledgeable attorney who will help you meet the necessary deadlines and gather the required documents supporting your request. The attorney will also help you write a strong statement that will improve your chances of getting your license.
The Board of Registered Nursing Enforcement Program
Patients and other clients have a right to register for an official complaint against you, whether you have a valid license or not. The complaint registration can make the BRN Enforcement Program to start the investigation and take action against you. The Board of Registered Nursing has the mandate to issue you with your nurse practitioner license, investigate a complaint, and take any disciplinary action if a complaint is filed against you. The enforcement program starts by taking any complaint against you and immediately begins an investigation on the same, legal action and starts probation monitoring stages.
A complaint is any information that alleges that you, as a registered nurse practitioner, has violated the Nursing Practice Act by engaging in a behavior or an activity that does not agree to the professional responsibility. When a client makes a complaint against you, the BRN issues you with a notice within ten days.
It is within the ten days that you, as a nurse practitioner, need to think of your license suspension, and therefore you need to contact your attorney to increase your chances of a better ending of your case. Some of the most common complaints that will be filed against you as a nurse practitioner are negligence or unsafe patient care, alcohol or drug addiction/abuse, drug use while working, and the use of wrong medication on patients.
Other complaints may include mental health problems, sexual misconduct, criminal convictions, and fraudulent licenses. The complaints are taken very seriously by the BRN; it is not a matter that. You are supposed to handle it on your own. Most complaints are filed by anonymous persons and with a lot of confidentiality, making it difficult for the Department of Investigation to build a case against you. Identity of the person who made the complaint is usually made after examining the witnesses by an attorney. He or she confronts during the appeal, if not during the hearing.
In case after the initial investigation by the department proves that there is enough evidence that you indeed violated the nursing guidelines, a formal complaint is filed against you. For the Department of Investigation to decide whether to file a case or not against you, it will have to interview different people, your co-workers, employer, complaint, and registered nurse.
When the investigation is done, the person investigating submits a written report of the finding to the BRN. If the evidence provided is enough to convict you, then your case is filed for a hearing. If there is no evidence to support the allegations against you, your case is closed, and the complainant is notified. Since you will have no idea of what action the department of the investigation will take against you, you must contact your attorney to build a solid defense against your case.
Legal Action after Investigation
Citation and Fine
Suppose the investigation finds that you had performed against your profession but does not need to go through the formal process, then an informal process through the BRN citation and Fine system. Under this informal process, the executive officer can issue you with citations and fine either through a formal or informal appeal process.
If you are found guilty after the investigation is done and that a disciplinary action needs to be taken against you, then your case goes through the formal process; it is forwarded to the attorney general's office for the review process. If the evidence is sufficient for the accusation, you are issued an accusation, a legal document detailing your charges.
You are allowed to challenge the allegations against you in an administrative hearing. In some cases, the BRN may stipulate an agreement to resolve the case. If you are found guilty after the hearing, the judge will write a proposal on the decisions that have been made and then sent to the BRN members for considerations. The BRN members can either adopt, reject, or modify the decision proposed.
Possible Outcomes for Your Hearing
Violation of nursing board guideline investigation can take a long time before a decision is made on the type of action to be taken against you. The period depends on the complexity of the evidence and the charge against you. There are some instances where you may be issued with an interim suspension that will hinder you from continuing with your nursing career; however, the suspension can be challenged so that you can continue serving your patients during the investigation period.
In case the evidence presented to the Board is weak, the complaint against you will be closed without merit, but if there is enough evidence that you did violate the guidelines, then the complaint will be closed with merit. Therefore, it means that, if you are found guilty, there may be no action that will be taken against your license, but you will have a record of violation of nursing guidelines.
A fine or citation may be issued by the Board of Registered Nursing and the Fine Systems through a less formal process in minor violations. Violation of nursing rules such as drug abuse and alleged mental illness, there is an intervention program by the Board of Registered Nursing that handles it confidentially, and you may be required to undergo drug rehabilitation and other education requirements.
In case you are put on probation, you will be required to fulfill and comply with all the conditions set for the probation. The BRN probation monitor does the follow up to ensure that you fully comply with the requirements. If you successfully comply with the conditions, your license is restored without restrictions.
Defending Your License
Whatever the violation that you have committed, you can still contest and appeal to the outcomes. The Legal Guardian will represent you if there is a need for an administrative hearing to present evidence that will favor your case's success and settle any necessary negotiations. In case you lose in your case, it does not mean your rights are taken away from you, but the firm can gain your probation and a stayed revocation.
For probations, the period may last for at least three years, and The Legal Guardian can gather evidence to win your stay on the license suspension. The evidence that the attorney gathers are official statements from your supervisor or your employer, proof that you have enrolled in a rehab program in case of drug addiction, physical exam from a licensed physician, and transcripts of continuing education courses.
Your attorney from The Legal Guardian can also fight to modify the probationary period or reinstate a suspended license. Although there is a waiting period that limits when modification of probation and reinstatement can be done, your attorney has vast experience in nursing violation legal proceedings and will maximize your chances of minimizing your probation period.
In probations, the Board has minimum requirements set that you have to meet, and a form of monitoring to ensure that you keep the probation guidelines. The terms include reporting to a probation officer in person, avoiding any criminal violation during the probation period, supervision during your work, limitations of your job as a nurse practitioner, and submission of written reports.
The license suspension period and rehab program, if any, have to be completed. These probation terms can be negotiated and have a substantial effect on your life. Your attorney can work for the best possible outcome by fighting for some favorable terms of your probation.
Your attorney can finally help you get your nurse practitioner license reinstated as soon as possible if revoked. However, you will have to pay for the costs incurred by the probation monitoring and investigation. There is a room for your attorney to fight for a better outcome if the Board reduces the required payment and a workable payment plan.
License Reinstatement Petition
If you have permanently lost your nurse practitioner license and want it reinstated, you can file for reinstatement. Although it is hard for your license to be revoked permanently in California, you have to wait for one year after losing it to file for reinstatement. There are some eligibility requirements that you have to meet before you can file for your license reinstatement.
You cannot file for reinstatement if you are on parole or probation. In addition to that, you have to submit proof that you have undergone rehabilitation. The reason being, rehabilitation is a step that shows that you have taken the necessary steps to improve yourself in relevant ways. Successful petitions are accompanied by letters from colleagues to prove your ability to do your job successfully.
You may have a good opportunity if your license is fully reinstated because there are some instances where it can be reinstated provisionally with a record of your disciplinary actions featured on your license record. That can make it difficult for you to secure a nursing job in California and other states.
If you have demonstrated personal change several times before the Board, you may have a one-time reinstatement filling and have your license back because the Board also looks at your effort to change yourself for the better. During the reinstatement process, you can consider working with an attorney from The Legal Guardian to help you prove your improvement, and he or she will prove to the Board that you are ready to serve in the public healthcare field again.
In case your license has been reinstated provisionally, the attorney will help you in seeking a reduction of the restrictions or removal of any negative information on your license record so that you can seek employment without having to worry about your history.
Nurse Diversion as an Alternative to Disciplinary Hearing
As a nurse practitioner who has violated the nursing laws, the Board of Registered Nursing may offer you an alternative to your hearing called "A Nurse Diversion." It is a voluntary program suited to nurse practitioners whose ability to function in the healthcare field is impaired by mental illness or substance use.
Nurse Diversion is a demanding, long, and expensive program, and therefore it is upon you to decide either to join or not. If you are the type of nurse who believes in gaining sobriety, the program will help because you will commit your life to live a healthy and clean lifestyle after the program. If you become unsuccessful in your diversion program, then there will be harsh consequences that you will face, such as referral for license discipline.
Therefore, if the Board offers you an opportunity to enroll in a diversion program, you need an attorney who will help you understand your legal options, explain the benefits of the program, and the consequences of enrolling in the Boards Diversion Program.
Consult Your License Attorney Near Me
Suppose you are subjected to a license review by your health care facility or by the State Board on your ability to serve in the healthcare field. In that case, you need to consult an attorney who understands the healthcare industry and its legal proceedings involved. If you face the risk of losing your healthcare professional license, you can contact The Legal Guardian in California to help you through the legal process.
Our firm has knowledgeable and committed attorneys with decades of experience in the legal and healthcare fields. The attorney understands how important the professional license is crucial to you, and the attorney is therefore focused on preserving your career. Contact us at 888-293-0396 for further consultations.