Registered nurses will lose their RN licenses for 2 reasons: 1.) they voluntarily surrender the RN license or 2.) the RN license is revoked by the BRN. Once a RN license is surrendered or revoked, it is possible to get it back but it is a long process and it is an up-hill battle. The process to get your RN license back is called a Petition for Reinstatement.
We hear this all the time; a nurse has an accusation filed against their RN license by the BRN for any number of reasons: from a simple DUI, to some charting errors, to medication discrepancies and allegations of diversion. The nurse calls the Deputy Attorney General assigned to the case and the DAG tells them to just surrender the license, you can simply petition for reinstatement and get it back later. Great, thinks the nurse and signs the paperwork for surrender. There are so many problems with this!
- The DAG is the BRN’s attorney. The RN has just asked opposing counsel for advice on their case and the DAG is going to give the nurse “advice” so that the BRN wins. Surrender of the RN license = win for the DAG and the BRN.
- Once a license is surrendered, there is a waiting period of 1 year for revocations resulting from mental or physical health or three years for everything else. 3 YEARS is a long time to wait just to start the petition for reinstatement.
- The Petition for Reinstatement itself is a set of documents that must be properly completed and submitted to the BRN. In order to get the paperwork, you just have to contact the BRN and tell them you want to petition for reinstatement- they will mail you the document. Making sure that all the paperwork is in order, all present and all compelling enough to be granted is difficult just on its own.
- Once the petition for reinstatement is filed, the BRN sets a date for the case to be heard by them in person. The BRN is busy and as of this post, it’s taking a year to get on their calendar to be heard. This is now four years from surrender.
- The amount of time given to the nurse to present the case to the BRN is very short. The BRN will allow you to present your case in person before the Board for about 15 minutes. That is an excruciating small amount of time to convince a group of people that you are sorry for what you did, you take responsibility for your actions and you are rehabilitated with systems in place to ensure there is no likelihood of reoccurrence.
- The burden of proof shifts to the nurse. During an Accusation, the BRN must show causes of action and prove those causes by clear and convincing evidence in order to discipline the RN license or revoke it. Once the license has been revoked, the NURSE must prove the reasons they should have their license given back to them. This means there must be some sort of verifiable evidence that the RN is fit to have their license reinstated. It is much more difficult to prove “I am a good person and no longer a risk to the public,” but that is what must be done.
- If a license is surrendered or revoked, there is a good chance that the nurse will be placed on the Health and Human Services (HHS) Federal Office of Inspector General (OIG) List of Excluded Individuals/Entities or the state’s version: the Medi-Cal Suspended and Ineligible Provider List. (That is an entire other post, click here for more on that super-fun experience). If you want to actually use your RN license once you get it back, you have to get off of these lists, too.
If you are a nurse who is considering a petition for restatement of your RN license, this blog post may not be the best news, and certainly not what you want to hear if you just recently lost the license and now know you have the better part of 40 months to wait to get it back. However, if you are at the beginning of climbing this hill, we can absolutely help give you some pointers on what you can do in the meantime to build your case (remember that burden of proof is yours- we will help you establish it.) If you have reached the point where you can actually request and file the petition for reinstatement and would like some assistance making sure all the “t’s” are crossed with a flourish and “i’s” are dotted definitively, we can help you with the paperwork. If you are feeling a bit nervous about convincing a room full of people in 15 minutes that your life should be given back to you, we can be pretty darn convincing. In fact, we’ve been successful in getting our client’s licenses reinstated in the vast majority of cases!
Petitions for reinstatement are not easy. They are time consuming and they have to be perfect, but in the end, if you can get your RN license back and get back to the career you love, they are so worth it! We would be happy and honored to help you get back the part of you that makes you who you are, the “RN” part 🙂 . Give me a call if you are at this crossroad and let’s see what we can do for you.