A Year Later: Why BRN Diversion Program Doesn’t Work

A few days ago I took a call from “Sarah,” a RN who was fed up with the irrational demands of California’s Nursing Diversion Program. She wanted out. Four days prior, I spoke with “Lucy,” a RN who was considering BRN Diversion Program because she didn’t want to have her license revoked.

So What is the Answer?

It is important to understand all the variables.  Sarah chose to accept the BRN Diversion Program because she had an accusation against her license. There was no formal BRN investigation and the Board would not tell her what the accusation was for. Sarah assumes it stems from a DUI she received a year ago. She is not an alcoholic and did not feel that she was a good candidate for Diversion, but she chose to enroll to keep the accusation from going public and hoped to avoid license revocation.

A year later and thousands of dollars in debt, she wants out because the Program is mandating that she go into a 90 day inpatient program because she tested positive for alcohol in a ETG. She has not had a drop to drink, but because the Program uses a ETG for testing, she’s showing positive for traces of alcohol; which can come from anything from soy sauce to hand sanitizer. The Board does not take this into account.

The inpatient program will cost about $20,000 and is completely irrational option for Sarah, who does not have a dependency problem. Where will Sarah come up with that money since she hasn’t been able to work for the last year, as the Diversion Program mandates? She can’t pay.  She has to quit diversion and accept the consequences, which will be an investigation into her license and a request by the Board that she either surrender it or they will revoke it.

Lucy, on the other hand called me and asked about her options after a DUI.  She wanted to know what the requirements of the BRN Diversion program were, verses facing revocation. This is what I told her:

BRN Diversion Program requirements include:

  1. you can not work
  2. you submit to drug/urine tests
  3. you attend diversion mandated support groups
  4. “completion” is based on the decision of the Board
  5. usually takes 3 years or more to “complete”
  6. the accusation remains anonymous
  7. it can cost tens of thousands of dollars

If you face revocation with RN Guardian attorneys, you will keep your license but will have to face probation. A DUI or any drug/alcohol related conviction is a “revocable offense”, but our lawyers have never failed in license retention for our members.

Probation requirements include:

  1. you can work
  2. you may have to submit to random drug/urine tests
  3. you may be required to attend support groups
  4. probation lasts for 3 years
  5. you can appeal after 24 months
  6. the accusation is public record and will be posted
  7. it will cost about $6,000, if you’re not a RNG member

So what is the answer for Lucy? It is a personal choice, but it should be an informed one. Please know if you are ever faced with making the decision between BRN Diversion Program or fighting for your Regiistered Nurse license, we are here and you can make your decision based on legal precedent, sound advice from our lawyers and years of attorney experience . Call us at now at 916-851-1900 and speak to a lawyer right away. If you would like to share your thought or experiences with Lucy, please do so on the Forum. I’m sure she would be grateful.