While the majority of the calls RN Guardian receives are from nurses who have been arrested or convicted of a DUI, we also receive a high volume of calls from student nurses concerned about how a DUI will impact their ability to get their NP license upon graduation.


Many student nurses are shocked to discover that their license applications are denied because of a prior DUI. Even if the DUI occurred prior to the student NP enrolling in nursing school, the license application can be denied for a DUI conviction. How is this possible?


A DUI is a violation of the Nurse Practice Act, which constitutes a threat to public safety and creates up to 3 causes for discipline of a NP License. 1.) Unprofessional Conduct, 2.) Conviction of a Substantially Related Crime and, 3.) Use of Drugs or Alcohol in Manner that is Dangerous to Oneself or Others. Because a Nurse Practitioner convicted of a DUI would have their NP license subject to revocation for a DUI, the BRN considers a student nurse with a DUI to be a similar threat to public safety. In order to do their job, which is to “protect the public” the BRN will initially deny a student nurse their NP license.


Don’t panic future nurses of California… you will still be able to get your license… it will just be a much bigger hassle.


The reason the BRN denies the initial NP license application is so that it will be become public record and in order for the “public” to be able to keep tabs on the new nurse, he or she will have to have their new license subjected to some sort of discipline. The student NP will need to appeal the denial. A Statement of Issues will be filed by the BRN’s attorneys (the Deputy Attorney General’s office) and the student nurse will have the opportunity to offer up an explanation and mitigating evidence to show why they should be licensed. A round of negotiations will ensue between the Deputy Attorney General and the student nurse and eventually, they will arrive at a settlement agreement where the student will be given their license, but it will be subjected to discipline out of the gates.


A student NP navigating this daunting process on their own can expect the process to take up to a year and can plan on having their new license subjected to no less than 19 probation requirements for 3 years and paying upwards of $15,000.00 to comply. A few years ago, RN Guardian was very successful in getting students their licenses without any restrictions, but as the BRN has cracked down and with the implementation of the new Substance Abuse guidelines mandated by DCA, we are lucky to get Letters of Reprimands for our clients. However, our attorneys are still very successful in negotiating probation terms with a “Rule Out” provision… which saves our clients that aforementioned $15 grand in compliance fees.


The follow up question is always the same: “won’t it be more difficult to get a job with a probationary license? It is hard enough for a new grad to get a job,” and my answer is “of course it is more difficult.” But it is not impossible. Here’s the real deal: first of all, unless you’ve had the DUI expunged, your potential employer is going to know about the DUI anyway because of their own background check. Secondly, there is not an HR department who does not recognize that probation for a DUI that occurred prior to licensure is anything other than a money-grab by the BRN. Thirdly, as a new nurse, complying with the standard 1-13 probation requirements is a breeze. Finally, if you are applying for a position with a big hospital, I can virtually guarantee you won’t be the only NP there on probation for a DUI. About 4000 nurses a year get popped for DUIs… you aren’t the only one, I promise.


If you are student NP with a DUI conviction and would like more information regarding the probation requirements, the process or how much it will cost to get help from us, give me a call. At present, RN Guardian has a 98% success rate in getting our student NPs licensed, even with a DUI conviction… and I am 100% confident we can help you too.


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