In California, do I need a nursing license …


In California, do I need a nursing license defense lawyer if the Board of Registered Nursing issues an accusation against me?


Nursing Board Investigation

The California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) licenses registered nurses (RNs) and certified advanced practice nurses (e.g., nurse practitioners) under the Nursing Practice Act. The BRN is one of several professional regulatory boards and bureaus that exist within the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Before the BRN acts to suspend, revoke, fine or otherwise discipline an RN, it conducts an investigation, which usually involves asking the nurse to prepare a written statement, and can also involve a personal interview by a state investigator from the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

Occasionally the investigation will involve a related criminal case pending in court. Depending on the accusations, voluntary statements made by the nurse during the BRN investigation, though administrative in nature, can sometimes result in criminal charges or civil lawsuits. Registered nurses who make statements during the BRN investigation without first consulting with a nursing license defense lawyer can harm their chances of a good outcome.

The best time to hire a Board of Registered Nursing defense lawyer is at the beginning of the investigation because the best chance of guiding the case to a favorable result is usually before the investigation is complete and any accusation against the nursing license issues. To find a qualified and experienced attorney to represent you anywhere in California in your nursing board investigation, call 1-800-456-3767, or visit .

The Accusation

If the California Board of Registered Nursing determines through its investigation that discipline, suspension, revocation or other discipline of a nurse's license is justified, the BRN serves a charging document known as the "accusation." The accusation contains all of the factual allegations in support of the adverse nursing license action and citations to the Nursing Practice Act the BRN claims have been violated.

The Nursing Practice Act is contained in the California Business and Professions Code starting with Section 2700.

Temporary Suspension Order

In more serious nursing license cases, the BRN will seek a temporary suspension order or "TSO" along with the accusation. The TSO remains in place while the administrative appeal before the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) is pending. If you are faced with a temporary suspension order by the Board of Registered Nursing, call Rose Law at 1-800-456-3767 or visit We have defended registered nurses and other licensed health care professionals everywhere in California since 2004 and we have expert medical professionals on our law firm staff.

BRN Diversion Program

If the allegations in the complaint involve substance abuse, chemical dependency or mental illness, the Board of Registered Nursing will typically offer nurses voluntary and confidential participation in their diversion program to avoid negative license action upon successful completion of the program.

Notice Of Defense

Soon after the accusation is served on the registered nurse, a legal response must be filed with the BRN. The timeliness and quality of the response, typically in the form of a "notice of defense" along with appropriate legal objections to the accusation, are imperative to the overall success in the case. If a California Board of Registered Nursing licensee receives an accusation, he or she should immediately consult with an experienced nursing board defense lawyer at 1-800-456-3767.

The nursing board will enclose a simple "notice of defense" form that the registered nurse can fill out and return to request an appeal hearing. Be careful! Many nurses mistakenly believe that completing this basic form and sending it back are all that can be done do to defend themselves at this stage of the case! A more thorough attorney-prepared notice of defense should also be filed and served, appropriate legal objections should be lodged, a request for discovery of relevant evidence should be made, any request for discovery made by the nursing board's attorney (usually the California Attorney General) should be answered, applicable legal privileges to the production of evidence should be preserved, settlement discussions with the prosecuting Deputy Attorney General or nursing board agent should begin, and many other important legal steps need to be taken. This all must happen very quickly.

Failing to take immediate legal steps to defend your registered nursing license or waiting until the last minute before the appeal hearing (administrative trial) to begin to find an attorney to defend your RN license is a serious mistake and can permanently damage your appeal.

If you are facing a Board of Registered Nursing accusation, protect your professional license and livelihood by hiring the right lawyer to defend you. Call 1-800-456-3767 or visit Rose Law represents nursing professionals and other health care licensees everywhere in California in administrative, criminal and civil legal matters.

(c) 2014 Rose Law, APC

Legal Non-Fiction Answered

Disclaimer: This answer was provided by an attorney selected to Super Lawyers, and is intended to be an educated opinion only. This answer should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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