Registered Nurse License Defense Attorney

This video tells a story of a nursing student who faced multiple challenges in obtaining her license with the Board of Registered Nursing. Unlock Legal is proud to have represented her from her days as a student through the successful filing and granting of her application to be a nurse.

Protect Your Nursing License

Unlock Legal represents registered nurses who have issues with their licensing board.

  • Was your application to the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) rejected (or you’re worried it will be)?
  • Are you under investigation?
  • Do you have a pending criminal matter or a criminal conviction?

Whatever your concern, Unlock Legal can help you. We are trusted professional license defense lawyers the experts in defending professionals and protecting their licenses. If your license is in jeopardy for any reason, contact us immediately for a free consultation.

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About the California Board of Registered Nursing

The California Board of Registered Nursing is a consumer protection agency that protects the general public by licensing nurses who practice in the state and enforcing standards. Every registered nurse in California must be registered with the Board to work as a nurse in California. The Board prescribes standards that nurses must follow in their care of patients. The Board administers the licensing exam and the continuing education requirements for nurses.

There are over 300,000 registered nurses in the state, treating millions of California residents. In some cases, a patient may file a complaint against a nurse, or the Board may otherwise learn information that causes it to launch an investigation. Nurses can be disciplined for a wide range of conduct, including things that do not happen in their day-to-day job.

Why You Need a Registered Nurse License Defense Lawyer

Registered nurses are always in demand, and they play a vital role in our immense healthcare system. You poured considerable effort and hard work – in addition to significant resources – into your career, and it not only represents your livelihood but also plays a primary role in your identity.

While nursing is a personally rewarding career, it is also extremely stressful and demanding, which can take its toll on everyone in the profession. An investigation can jeopardize your license and your career, and if this is the challenging situation you find yourself in, reaching out to an experienced California registered nurse license defense attorney is well-advised. 

Nursing License Applications, Denials and Statement of Issues

Applying for your nursing license is exciting because it is one of the last hurdles before you can begin your nursing career. For many the application process is straightforward and simple. However, for some, past criminal convictions or other issues can lock them up. The attorneys at Unlock Legal will complete and file your BRN application on your behalf to make sure that you have the best chance of having it granted.

If you have submitted your application and it has been denied, you are not locked out of your career. A denial of your application is called a Statement of Issues. We will defend you to the BRN with the intention that you are granted your license free and clear. If you must be on probation, we will negotiate the best possible terms and conditions. A part of your defense may be cleaning up any past criminal issues to show your rehabilitation to the licensing body.

The California Board of Nursing

The California Board of Nursing is the regulatory Board that monitors and regulates the professional standards set forth in the Nursing Practice Act. Some of the most common disciplinary actions for registered nurses are triggered by the following:

  • DUIs or allegations related to alcohol or substance abuse
  • Allegations of gross negligence or incompetence
  • Allegations of standard-of-care violations
  • Allegations of Nursing Practice Act violations 
  • Evidence of deficient record-keeping practices
  • Allegations of nursing home abuse
  • Criminal charges, arrests, or convictions
  • Failure to meet continuing education requirements
  • Continuing education was not accepted by the board
  • Accused of continuing education fraud

The Complaint or Criminal Charge

A complaint or criminal charge against you can be predicated on any of the following:

  • A complaint that a patient, another medical professional, medical facility, or anonymous party files
  • A disciplinary action levied in another state (for traveling nurses and those who work in more than one state)
  • Any notice of criminal charge, arrest, or conviction

If the allegation you face is determined to be credible, the Board will launch an investigation. At this stage in the process, there is still an opportunity to resolve the matter without your license being affected and without the allegation being published by the Board, which makes having a focused registered nurse defense attorney on your side paramount. 

Board of Nursing Investigation

If someone files a complaint against you with the BRN, the Board may instigate an investigation against you. The attorneys at Unlock Legal will request a copy of the complaint, assist you in preparation of any statement, prepare you for the investigation interview, and represent you at the interview with the investigator.

It is important to have experienced counsel with you at an investigation interview to assist you in answering any questions appropriately, and advising you when not to speak. With the right advice and counsel an investigation may end at the interview stage. If not, your licensing body may choose to file a formal complaint against you called an Accusation.

The Interview Phase

You’ll be informed of your nurse license investigation either by letter – that provides legal notice, requests employment record release authorization, offers voluntary entry into the Board’s intervention program, or any combination of these – or when an investigator contacts you to set up an interview. You can expect the investigators who interview you to be highly trained and savvy professionals whose focus is on building the strongest possible case against you. Their friendly inquiries are intended to put you at ease and encourage you to drop your guard, and if you have not done so already, it’s time to bring in a dedicated registered nurse license defense attorney. If the interview process leads to the filing of a formal accusation, it can lead to a hearing and further serious consequences for your career.  

Board of Nursing Accusations

An Accusation is a formal complaint drafted by the Attorney General’s office. It alleges various causes of action against you which may stem from conviction of a crime, and/or allegations of other bad acts like substance abuse, or deviation from the standard of care. You have only 15 days to send a Notice of Defense once you have been served with an Accusation. If you miss the deadline a default order may be rendered against you resulting in the revocation of your nursing license. It is imperative that you hire experienced counsel to represent you if an Accusation has been filed against you. Time is of the essence, and your career and livelihood is at stake.

Reasons for Disciplinary Action Against Nurses

Reasons the Board may investigate or discipline a registered nurse include:

  • Incompetence and gross negligence
  • Practicing medicine without a license
  • A criminal conviction outside work
  • Failing to report client abuse
  • Holding oneself out as a nurse that has certain specialized qualifications (such as a nurse practitioner) without a license
  • Knowingly failing to protect patients by following infection control guidelines
  • Illegally obtaining or prescribing dangerous narcotic drugs
  • Drug or alcohol abuse that endangers others

Disciplinary Penalties Against Nurses

There are three primary punishments that the Board will impose on nurses. In cases of severe violations, the Board may revoke the nurse’s license. In other serious instances, the Board will suspend the nurse’s license. Finally, the Board may put the nurse on probation. Nursing punishment is not like disciplinary actions for other practitioners because it is less practical to subject nurses to supervision in their job.

Depending on the circumstances, the Board may order the nurse to go through drug or alcohol treatment. There are also other reporting requirements that a nurse must follow when on probation. Needless to say, a nurse will have difficulty finding employment when they have a suspension or probation on their record, even in a favorable job market. The Board has been known to investigate complaints aggressively and enforce its own rules.

The Board cannot formally discipline you without giving you an opportunity to be heard. They do not get to make the final decision in your case, which is known as due process. An Administrative Law Judge will hear your case, and each side will have a chance to present witnesses and evidence. The best-case scenario is when the Board closes an investigation without filing any accusations. That is possible if your attorney can engage with the Board during the course of the investigation.

Petition for Reinstatement of Nursing License or Reduction of Penalties

If you have lost your nursing license you are not locked out of the career of your choice. After a certain amount of time you are eligible to ask the BRN to grant your license again. In addition, you can generally request that the terms and conditions of probation be modified or terminated early. The legal team at Unlock Legal has filed petitions for reinstatement for many nurses who made one mistake, and who have paid the price. We love to demonstrate mitigating circumstances and rehabilitation to the BRN to get our nurses back in the hospitals or care facilities!An Experienced California Pharmacy License Defense Attorney Is on Your Side 

If you are facing an investigation by the California Board of Nursing, the accomplished California registered nurse license defense attorneys at Unlock Legal are committed to harnessing their impressive experience, legal skill, and insight in focused pursuit of your case’s most advantageous resolution. Your case is important, so please don’t wait to contact or call us at 949-988-4444 for more information today. 

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