…Contrary to its title.

The Board of Registered Nursing is part of the Department of Consumer Affairs, which means that its sole purpose is to protect the consumer, not you, the Nurse. Certainly the BRN offers a myriad of useful information for the RN through its extensive website, but the Board is not a confidential resource for the RN looking for answers regarding licensing issues. One of RN Guardian’s newest members has learned this the hard way, in fact the hardest of ways.

As a service to you, she has graciously agreed to allow me to share her experience and I feel like the best way to do that is through her own words. Following is an email conversation between me and our RNG member “Laura”. I encourage you to read it.

Asking the right person a question about your license could mean the difference between having your question answered confidentially by a legal expert, or having the BRN go after your Nursing License because you assumed they were a safe place to go.

From: Laura RN
Sent: Monday, December 13, 2010 8:12 PM
To: Jennifer Coalson
Subject: the “email”


Please let me know if you can think of anything else I need to do. I appreciate your justified anger and disgust toward the BRN on my behalf.  I am mentally exhausted on top of everything else going on in my personal life.  This interrogation has been more stressful than any personal matter could ever be and knowing the source was a confidential question to the Board just makes me feel more violated.  I will go with you all the way on this one!!!

Thank you for being there for me!


On Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 9:34 AM, Jennifer Coalson < [email protected]>; wrote:

Oh “Laura”

I don’t really even know where to begin with this. It’s unconscionable and I am outraged on your behalf. I also –as sad as it is – agree with you. I think this is a witch hunt- I think most of them are, especially those that are so obviously over and done with and are based on a simple error. For them to use your “confidential” inquiry as a means to go after you is repulsive.

My suggestion is this: Provide what they request. You can draw the line in the sand where ever you choose. The most important thing at this point is try to try to mitigate the damage to YOU. You’d mentioned that having a formal accusation lodged against you was going to be detrimental and I agree. Let’s try to get this dropped at the investigation stage. We still have enough info to mount a bit of investigation into their policies and hopefully do something about this after the fact, but I don’t want you to use yourself as a scape-goat to make a point to the Board. We will take care of them on the back end. There are consumer/ public watchdog groups that  have a long standing dislike of the BRN and I say we go there with your story.

The converse argument  is that you should have never contacted the Board with that question in the first place- their job is to “protect the public” and if they feel that the public could be at risk- then they investigate. It happens with self reporting nurses all of the time.  A RN discloses that she got a DUI- the BRN goes after her and attempts to revoke her license. It is imperative that RN’s realize that the BRN is NOT a confidential resource, nor do they claim to be. RNG is just that: a confidential resource … but RN’s don’t find out about us until it is too late.

Let’s get all the info to your RNG Panel Attorney and let him counsel you on what you should do. I’m not a good “impartial” because I become so emotionally involved in my member’s cases- especially yours.

I’m here if you have any questions,


Jennifer D. Coalson-Perez

Executive Director



From: Laura RN
Sent: Monday, December 13, 2010 8:12 PM
To: Jennifer Coalson
Subject: the “email”

Here it is, I obviously never got a response.

From:     LauraRN
Subject:     license question
Date:     May 17, 2010 10:49:32 AM PDT
To:     Contact a the BRN
I am a registered nurse in California.  I recently was placed on a 5150. I have no previous history in relation to mental health problems and was released by the physician as “depression improved.”  What are the effects that this 5150 can possibly have on my license?

Since the Board of Registered Nursing created this mess I am extremely reluctant to provide them with anymore information than we did today.  Support letters from my CNO, medical director, and therapist as well as all my evaluations and proof the medication belonged to me is enough in my opinion to disprove anything that would indicate I have ever been unfit to perform my job as a nurse to the best of my ability.  And the drug test on the spot during the investigation should have some weight in the matter also.  I feel that no matter what I consent to for their review, they’ve already initiated a witch hunt.