Revocation of a nursing license is actually an incredibly rare occurrence among our clients. In fact, for the thousands of nurses our attorneys have represented, only a couple have had their RN licenses revoked.

WHEN DOES Revocation of a Nursing License OCCUR?

The Board of Nursing (BRN) cannot revoke your RN license without first filing an Accusation against you, showing a substantial violation of the Nurse Practice Act. A nurse’ RN license will only be revoked for 3 reasons: 1) The nurse did not file the Notice of Defense in time, and the BRN moved to revoke the RN license on a default order; 2) following an Accusation being filed against the RN license the nurse did not supply sufficient evidence to show that their revocation be stayed and a lesser discipline imposed; 3) the nurse is already on probation and fails to meet the requirements.

There is a 15-day window in which a nurse served with an Accusation must respond. If the nurse does not respond within that 15 days, the BRN assumes that the nurse does not wish to defend the accusation and moves to revoke the RN license on a default order. Once the default order has been given, the RN license is revoked, and typically there is not anything that can be done to reinstate it at the time. You will have to wait for 1-3 years before you can Petition for Reinstatement of your RN license. This is the most common reason a revocation of a nursing license occurs, simply failing to send in the Notice of Defense on time.

Revocation of a nursing license can also occur as a form of discipline following an Accusation being filed against the RN’s license. Every Accusation calls for suspension or revocation of the RN license, but this is the most severe penalty the BRN can impose. Accusations are filed for everything from arrests and misdemeanor criminal convictions to charting errors and medication discrepancies to patient care issues, diversion of medication, or HIPAA violations. As most of these violations of the Nurse Practice Act can be reduced to a lower level of discipline, like a Letter of Public Reprimand or Probation, our clients almost never receive a nursing license revocation as a form of discipline. Actually, we have a 99% success rate in avoiding license revocation for our RN clients! For more on what to expect following an Accusation, click here.

Finally, revocation of a nursing license occurs when a nurse is already on probation, meaning that they’ve had a revocation stayed, while they complete the probation requirements imposed by the BRN. If the nurse fails to comply perfectly with probation, then they are in violation of probation, and the BRN will impose the revocation of the RN license. Occasionally, we are able to argue that the probation be extended and that the nurse’s license revocation should remain stayed, but this is difficult to do. It is critical that if you have been placed on probation, you are 100% compliant; otherwise, your license will be revoked.

WHAT DOES  Revocation of a Nursing License MEAN?

Revocation of your nursing license means that you may not work as a registered nurse or in any capacity where your RN license is a requirement of the job. You no longer have a registered nursing license, and you are no longer a registered nurse.

Having your RN license revoked also means, in many cases, that you will be placed on the Office of Inspector General’s List of Excluded Individuals or the California Medical Exclusion list. If you are placed on these lists, you will be precluded from working in any health care setting, anywhere in the country. If you have another license in a different state, that license is now obsolete because the Federal OIG list trumps the state license. If you have another license like a CNA or LVN in California, you will not be able to use it. There is more info on the OIG and Medical lists here.


While a nursing license revocation is a rare occurrence for our clients, probation is not. Probation actually is a common term for a Stayed Revocation. All probationary RN licenses have been “revoked,” but that revocation is “stayed” as long as the RN completes Probation. Probation is the most common form of discipline imposed following an Accusation and at no point during Probation is your RN license suspended. You may work as an RN the entire time you are on Probation, the only caveat is that there may be a short waiting period while the BRN approves your job. There is much more on a Stayed Revocation or Probation here.


If you are concerned that your RN license may be revoked, please give me a call. There is a multitude of options available to you, and I can promise with 99% certainty, based on our past clients, that license revocation isn’t going to be one of them. Revocation of a nursing license is the harshest form of discipline that the BRN can impose, and in virtually every case, this does not have to happen. RN Guardian and its team of panel attorneys have had incredible success in defending nurses’ RN licenses because that is literally all that we do. We’ve made it our career to protect yours, and our top priority is to keep your nursing license from being revoked.

If your RN license has been revoked and you are ready to get it back, please give me a call as well. We have great success in winning Petitions for Reinstatement of our client’s nursing licenses and are proud to be able to put the “RN” after your name once more. For details on the Petition for Reinstatement, click here.