BRN Disciplinary Process

The following is a non-exhaustive list of reasons the CA BRN may discipline your RN License. The recommended discipline in ALL of the following cases is revocation or suspension of the RN license.

  • Incompetence or gross negligence.
    • To direct another or to personally falsify and/or make grossly incorrect, grossly inconsistent, or unintelligible entries in any hospital, patient, or other record not pertaining to controlled substances.
  • Conviction of practicing medicine without a license.
  • Fraudulent advertising.
  • Disciplinary action against health care license by another state, government agency, or licensing board.
  • Failure to report client abuse to the appropriate agency.
  • Holding oneself out as any of the following without meeting the BRN standards:
    • Nurse practitioner
    • Nurse anesthetist
    • Certified nurse midwife
    • Public health nurse
    • Nurse practitioner with a furnishing number
    • Nurse midwife with a furnishing number
    • Board-listed psychiatric mental health nurse
    • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Procuring a certificate by fraud, misrepresentation, or mistake. (Failure to disclose a prior conviction on an application)
  • Involvement in the procurement of or assisting in a criminal abortion.
  • Violating or abetting violation of any section of the Nursing Practice Act.
  • Furnishing false information.
  • Conviction of a felony or any offense substantially related to the qualifications, functions and duties of a registered nurse,
    • Offenses that the Board deems to be substantially related include, but are not limited to, child abuse, murder, rape, assault and/or battery, lewd conduct, theft crimes, and sale or use of controlled substances. In addition, for reinstatement of licensure, the individual must have completed criminal probation and have compelling evidence of rehabilitation substantiated by a recent psychiatric evaluation.
  • Impersonating an applicant in an examination.
  • Except for good cause, knowingly failing to protect patients by failing to follow infection control guidelines, thereby risking transmission of blood-borne infectious diseases from licensed or certified nurse to patient, from patient to patient, and from patient to licensed or certified nurse.
  • Illegally obtaining, possessing, or administering narcotics or dangerous drugs to self or others. (Use of family member’s prescription)
  • Use of any narcotic, dangerous drug, or alcohol to the extent that it is dangerous to self or others, or the ability to practice nursing safely is impaired. (DUI)
  • Conviction of a criminal offense involving the prescription, consumption, or self-administration of narcotics, dangerous drugs, or alcohol, or the possession of or falsification of a record pertaining to narcotics or dangerous drugs. (DUI)
  • Commitment or confinement by a court of competent jurisdiction for intemperate use of, or addiction to, any narcotics, dangerous drugs or alcohol.
  • Falsifying and/or making grossly incorrect, grossly inconsistent, or unintelligible entries in any hospital, patient, or other record pertaining to controlled substances. (Charting errors or wasting errors)
  • Incompetence/gross negligence by a nurse practitioner in performing functions related to furnishing drugs or devices.
  • Knowingly presenting or causing to be presented any false or fraudulent claim for the payment of a loss under a contract of insurance.
  • Sexual abuse, misconduct, or relations with a patient.
  • Unable to practice profession safely because ability to practice is impaired due to mental illness or physical illness affecting competency.
  • Other Situations:
    • Failure to file a notice of defense or to appear at a disciplinary hearing, where the Board has requested revocation.
    • Violation of the conditions of the Board’s Probation Program.
    • Substantiated evidence or convictions of physical abuse and/or sexual offenses.
    • Patient neglect by failure to provide competent nursing care.
    • Second offenses unless the respondent can demonstrate that he/she has been rehabilitated.

In many cases, if a nurse is suspected of committing any of the above violations, the BRN Disciplinary Process will begin with an investigation. This can take place 1 of 2 ways. 1.) A BRN investigator will send you a letter asking to meet with you and requesting that you sign a waiver and release so that they may look into your file with your employer. The investigator may also look at final decisions of a criminal conviction and no contact with you will be made. Investigations typically take place from 4 to 6 months after the BRN receives notice of the violation or complaint.

The next step is referral to the Cite and Fine Analyst or the Enforcement Division. If the Investigator determines that you have in fact committed any of the above violations, they will turn your case over to the Enforcement Division.  The enforcement division determines whether the violation is minor, in which case a citation and fine will be issued. If the violation is one of the above, the enforcement division will assign your case to a Deputy Attorney General who will eventually file an Accusation against your RN license. It is during the accusation phase of the process, that the BRN calls for formal discipline. The recommended discipline for ALL accusations is revocation or suspension of the RN license. It typically takes 12 months or so for the Board to file an Accusation, after the BRN receives notice of the violation or complaint.

Once the Accusation is served (usually via certified mail), you have only 15 days to respond with a Notice of Defense. The filing of the Notice of Defense notifies the BRN that you wish to defend yourself against the recommended discipline (revocation or suspension.) Once the Notice of Defense is filed, you may begin the process of gathering mitigating evidence to show the BRN that you should receive a lesser discipline, such as a letter of reprimand or probation in lieu of revocation. This can be accomplished by going to a Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge or by entering into a Stipulated Settlement Agreement with the BRN. It typically takes 6 to 12 months to reach a settlement or conclude a Hearing.

Once the Administrative Law judge hears the case, they will render an advisory decision to the BRN. The BRN can then choose to adopt the Judge’s recommendation or overturn it and impose any discipline they see fit. If a Stipulated Settlement Agreement is reached, that is final and binding by the BRN. It typically takes 2 to 3 months for the decision to become final and be adopted.

At this time your license will either be revoked, suspended, placed on probation or subject to public reprimand. If you are placed on probation, it will be another few weeks before your probation monitor contacts you and your probation requirements take effect.

For any nurse who has violated the Nurse Practice act by committing one of the aforementioned issues, it is imperative to know the process, know that the likely recommended discipline will be revocation of license, but most importantly to know that this does not have to be the case. RN Guardian’s panel attorneys have been successful in defending registered nurses from most of the violations listed. For alcohol offenses and convictions like DUI’s we have defended hundreds of nurses and never once had a client have their RN license revoked.

If you are accused of committing a violation of the Nurse Practice Act, please give me a call (800) 506-9766 or will out the form below . I will listen to the details of your specific case, let you know what the process is in your particular situation and give you an honest opinion of the possible outcome as it pertains to your RN license. I will offer you a no-pressure option to defend your license from revocation or suspension so you can continue your career.

We can help you.