How To Petition the Board of Nursing for Reinstatement of RN License

There are many reasons why a nurse may surrender his or her Registered Nursing License, but the catalyst is usually some disciplinary action from the Board of Nursing (BRN). I’ll use one of my case studies as an example:

Nurse Lisa* has decided that she would like assistance or advice regarding petitioning the Board for her Reinstatement of RN license after having surrendered it in 2005.  The first thing in her favor:  she has cleared the time restriction. In order to petition for reinstatement at least 3 years must have passed if the license was revoked or surrendered, 1 year if the license was revoked or suspended based upon a mental or physical illness. The Board, in its sole discretion, can be petitioned  to reduce the period of time, but it can never be less than one year.

The second thing in Lisa’s* favor is that her surrender can easily be tied to both a physical and mental health issue. Lisa was taking high levels of pain medication for fibromyalgia (all prescribed by her Doctor); she was also taking s anti-depressants. She had repeatedly asked her Doctor if she was cleared to work and he continually cleared her. However, she made some charting errors over a 6-month period of time,  was terminated from her position,  and self-reported the charting errors to the Board. The Board charged her with Gross Negligence and Incompetence and rather than arguing the charges, she opted for a Stipulated Surrender of her License.  Since her surrender, she has been diagnosed bi-polar and is under the care of a psychiatrist and is effectively managing her illness. She is ready to become a Nurse again.

In order for Lisa* to get her license back she will need to:

  • Petition for Reinstatement of RN License to the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN).
  • Gather and assemble all mitigating evidence that supports her rehabilitation.
  • Attend a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge presiding and the Deputy Attorney General as her opposing counsel.
  • Clearly and convincingly establish that cause exists to reinstate her license.
  • Accept the terms of reinstatement (which could include reinstatement for a probationary period).
  • If applicable, abide by the terms of probationary reinstatement.
  • Pay any fines that are outstanding to the Board from the original accusation (this can be done on a payment plan).


RN Guardian’s panel attorneys are experts in administrative law and Registered Nurse (RN) license defense. License reinstatement is not much different than defense, other than it is complicated by the burden of proof having shifted from the Board to the Nurse. Just as we would never recommend a Nurse attempt to defend her license without the legal counsel and direction of a lawyer, we would also never recommend a nurse attempt a petition for reinstatement of a license without a lawyer. Gathering and assembling all mitigating evidence that supports rehabilitation, and clearly and convincingly establishing that cause exists to reinstate a license maysound easy enough to do on one’s own. But I assure you, there are plenty of denials for Petitions for Reinstatement on the Board’s website that prove otherwise.


Attorney representation or legal assistance with a Petition for Reinstatement is not an extraordinary expense; in fact – you would probably recoup your legal fees within the first month back at work as a nurse.

 *Lisa’s name has been changed to abide by my obligation to protect her and her privacy.