What to Do If You’ve Received a Letter of Investigation from the BRN or the Department of Consumer Affairs Regarding Your RN License.

Let me just put this out there right away: DO NOT CALL THEM BACK OR SCHEDULE THE INTERVIEW without calling us first. Here’s why:

Nurses as whole are the kindest group of people. You want to help, which is why you got into nursing in the first place. Most nurses are also in love with their careers, it defines who you are and you are passionate about your job. Combine these 2 elements and it can create a catastrophe for a Registered Nurse who is being investigated by the Department of Consumer Affairs or the Board of Registered Nursing.

I understand the letter of investigation from the BRN or the Department of Consumer Affairs is terrifying. You open your mail and there is the DCA Letterhead, with the name of the investigator. You read on… OMG you are being investigated… “On behalf of the Board of Registered Nursing I am conducting an investigation that may affect your nursing license…” at this point you panic and call the investigator to find out what it is all about and then you begin talking to them.

I receive calls almost daily from nurses who have received a letter of investigation from the BRN and have already scheduled an interview with the DCA Investigator or, worse, have participated in the interview and now have questions about what happens next. Let me explain exactly what happens and what you need to know.


The initial conversation with the investigator will go something like this:

Investigator: “This is John. I have this complaint that I have to look into… I’m sure it’s nothing but I need to ask you a few questions about it.”

You: “oh sure John, no problem. Anything I can do to help. What is this about anyway?”

Investigator: “It’s just some silly complaint about a few medication wasting or charting errors… can we meet so you can explain them?”

You: “Sure. Although I don’t know what you’re talking about… I can’t think of any errors or issues… unless it was that one time…. Hmmm. I do remember a few months ago I was tired and may have made a mistake… is that what this is about? ”

Investigator: He is writing down that you’ve just admitted to have making a mistake that will go in his report and all by itself is cause for disciplinary action against your RN License by the BRN. “It’s just a few that I need you to explain and them I sure this will just go away.”

You: “Great. When do you want to meet?”

Investigator: He is ecstatic that you’ve agreed and doesn’t want you to have time to realize that you should have representation. “As soon as possible. I just want to wrap this up… I’m sure its nothing. How is tomorrow?”

You: “That’s fine. See you then.” You feel relieved. This isn’t a big deal and John seems so nice, he just wants to help.

Investigator: doing fist pumps as he gets off the phone because he knows he’s got you.

The investigator is not there to help you, despite how nice they sound on the phone. They are employed by DCA and the BRN. Their job is to work for DCA and the BRN which means they are investigating to find cause for action for the BRN. They are working against you. It is imperative that you know that.


You show up to meet with John at some government office building or he may even come to you and meet you at work. He is sitting at a table piled with paper, and hang on a second… is John wearing a gun and a badge? The piles of paper are charts and they are riddled with errors that you cannot explain. John will ask you about every mistake, every error. If you admit to any mis-charting, any wasting errors, any meds given on expired orders, any mistake at all… John has all he needs. And he won’t just ask you once. He will ask you the same question 10 different ways until you give him the answer he wants. At some point he asks you to take a drug test and tells you there is an officer who is going to accompany you to the bathroom and will watch you pee in a cup. You do… but you forget about your spouse’s Ambien you took to go to sleep last night because you were so worried about your meeting with John. You leave 4 hours later feeling like you just made a big mistake and thinking John wasn’t so nice after all.


What you unwittingly did in the interview was to give the Enforcement Division everything they need to file an Accusation against your Registered Nursing License charging you with Incompetence and Gross Negligence, both of which are cause for revocation or suspension of your RN license. You also are going to have a non-prescribed substance show up in your urine and the BRN will assume you are a drug seeker and that all those missing meds that couldn’t be accounted for were diverted by you, so they will accuse you of diversion. This same report will get forwarded to your local District Attorney who will do their own criminal investigation and could potentially charge you with a felony.

For a stark contrast, click here to see how this same situation plays out if you do have an attorney representing you.



C’mon… does this really happen? Is this just a scare tactic to get you to call us so we can talk you into retaining our attorneys? Yes. And in an effort at full disclosure, yes. Virtually every Accusation pertaining to medication charting or wasting errors is the result of an RN meeting with an investigator without a lawyer present. The BRN needs you to wrap up their case for them. They need you to admit to making a mistake and if they can pin diversion on you, they will in a heartbeat. Your only chance at protecting yourself at the investigation stage, is to hire an attorney who knows what they are doing and knows how to prepare you and protect you. And if an Accusation is filed anyway, at least you have set yourself up with best chance of defending yourself against it. We’ve never lost an RN license on an Accusation when we handled the investigation as well.

In conclusion, I will give you some free advice. It is about a million times better to ignore the investigator and not participate in the interview than it is for you to go in unrepresented and unprepared.* (this is no longer an option as of 7/23/14 click here for more information) You will think you have nothing to hide, so what can be the harm? The harm is always in saying too much and not being prepared for what will be asked, so in order to keep that from happening it is better to say nothing. Remember what your mom told you: “… if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”Your mom may have made a good lawyer.


Please contact me if you have received a letter of investigation from the BRN or the Department of Consumer Affairs. Talking to me for an initial consult is always free. I will listen to your story and let you know exactly what you can expect in your own unique situation. I will tell you what your rights are moving forward and if you choose to have us help you, one of the most experienced RN License Defense attorneys in the State will be there to guide you through this process and help you keep you RN License and the career you love so much… the career that defines you. Please call me before you call them.