Short answer: yes. Long answer: It is far easier and less expensive to keep the license from being revoked in the first place.
RN Licenses can be revoked for all number of violations of the Nurse Practice Act (NPA), from first time DUI convictions, to gross negligence for mischarging or wasting errors, to giving meds without a valid order, to patient care issues. There are a multitude of others, but these are by far the most common. In fact, most violations of the NPA that result in an Accusation being filed against the RN, can result in the revocation of the nurse’s RN license. This however, does not have to be the case.
Properly handled and defended, none of the above-listed offenses need to result in revocation. Nurses typically miss the Notice of Defense filing deadline, or they don’t pick up their mail, or they don’t take the matter seriously and don’t reply with the proper mitigating evidence. There is absolutely no reason that a nurse should have their RN license revoked for a DUI, even a second, or for charting errors, or wasting problems, or even giving a med without an order. We have defended nurses with all of those violations and to date, we have not had a nurse lose their license over any of them.
If a nurse has had their license revoked, it is possible to have it reinstated. In order to have a RN license reinstated after it has been revoked, you must petition the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). This process is coincidentally called a Petition for Reinstatement. The problems with the Petition for Reinstatement are 5 fold:
- 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 Once the license has been revoked, the NURSE must prove the reasons they should have their license given back to them.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.
- The amount of time given to the nurse to present all of this convincing evidence is horribly 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.
- There is a 2 to 3 year waiting period once the license has been revoked before you can even approach the BRN to begin the Petition for Reinstatement. I see this effecting nurses mostly financially. If you cannot work as an RN and that is all you’ve ever done, it is going to be very difficult to find a job that pays $80 grand a year and can support your quality of life and allow you to save up $7000 for attorney’s fee to get your license back.
- Nine times out of ten, if the nurse is going to be granted the reinstatement of the license, it is going to be subject to discipline, you guessed it… the same probation requirements you would have had if you had simply fought the initial accusation properly.
- It is much more expensive. See number 2. Your attorney is going to have to spend hours and hours poring over the underlying causes for revocation in the first place, building your case, preparing you to testify and then figuring out how to condense all of that down into a compelling and successful 15-minute pitch to the BRN.
I get it. If you are reading this, most of my points are moot because you have likely already had your license revoked and are looking for some hope that you will be able to get it back. Good News! You very likely will, but understand that it doesn’t happen right away (remember that 2 or 3 year waiting period), it can almost never be achieved without the help of a very experienced attorney and you are going to have to do some hard work to build your evidence case. But- it can be done…. We know because we have done it, many, many times.
If you are looking to get your RN license reinstated following a BRN revocation, please give me a call. I will listen to the details of your case, provide you with an assessment based on cases like yours and explain what you can do to get your RN license back.