California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) License Defense Attorneys for Registered Nurses (RNs)

Finding the best lawyer or law firm to defend your Registered Nurse (RN) license from an Accusation can be daunting


Registered Nurse (RN)

Registered Nurse in CaliforniaAre you facing a license investigation, accusation, or statement of issues by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN)? Our law firm’s experienced legal team of license defense attorneys, paralegals, lawyers, and professionals can help you protect your registered nurse license.

Among the most valued members in the medical world are registered nurses, comprising the largest segment of health care workers. If you are a registered nurse, we know your type of nursing has been taking on larger and larger roles in health care over the past few decades, placing you in a high-demand position.

Your work in promoting good health and preventing illness by educating patients and the public about a host of medical conditions, treating the sick and the injured and aiding in their rehabilitation is an important one. As a RN you are a guardian of the sick and injured. You also provide advice and emotional support to patients’ families as well, keeping them in the coveted role of ‘angels of mercy’ when illness or injury strikes.

Whether we find you in critical-care and intensive care units, emergency rooms, psychiatric wards, clinics, rehabilitation centers, doctors’ offices or home health care settings, your role is ever-expanding. Some of you visit schools and elder care homes and your knowledge can lead you to specialized settings as well, such as pediatric oncology or as surgical assistants under the direction of physicians. Others act as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, Certified Nurse-Midwives, and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, to name just a few paths your careers may take.

As you know, nurse practitioners, unlike general duty nurses, have in recent decades become primary caregivers. Arguments have been made that the current U.S. health care system needs many more nurse practitioners and fewer physicians, since these specialists perform many of the duties of their better-paid brethren at a lowered cost.

As you also know, nursing programs are highly competitive in California and applicants can wait for several years before being accepted. But most who achieve entry believe it to be worth it, citing their careers as extremely satisfying. Licensing is accomplished through the California Board of Registered Nursing. Because registered nurses are the primary point of contact between the patient and the world of health care at clinical, hospital or in outpatient settings, the quality of nursing practice and performance can be deemed subjective in nature by many consumers. Whether accusations are made due to a purported human error or because of the emotion surrounding injury or illness, registered nurses’ licenses can be challenged for a variety of reasons and motives.

Don’t go into a license hearing without the services of a trained license attorney should you be an RN in the position of defending your license or are finding it an uphill battle to obtain your license after so many years of study and sacrifice. Rose Law may be able to help. Call us at (800) 456-3767 for more information.

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Call Our Legal Team at 1 (800) 456-3767

Disciplinary Guidelines, Laws, and Regulations for the California Board of Registered Nursing

Disciplinary guidelines and information can be found on the board’s website by following these links:

Laws and regulations governing nursing can be found on the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) website by following these links:

If you need legal help and consultation to defend your license by an nursing board attorney, call 1-800-456-3767 to speak to a lawyer.

Enforcement Frequently Asked Questions

1. What types of complaints are jurisdictional to the BRN?

  • Drug/alcohol abuse
  • Gross negligence/incompetence, resulting in patient endangerment
  • Patient abuse and neglect
  • Sexual, violent, or abusive offenses
  • Fraud or theft offenses
  • Mentally impaired and unsafe to practice
  • Other acts or convictions substantially related to the practice of nursing
  • Practicing nursing without a license
  • RNs on probation who have violated their probation conditions

2. What types of complaints are outside the BRN’s jurisdiction?

  • Interpersonal conflicts
  • Employee-employer relations
  • Labor issues
  • Rudeness or impolite behavior
  • Billing disputes
  • Complaints against health care practitioners that are not RNs
  • Complaints against health care facilities, clinics, or agency operations

3. Can someone file an anonymous complaint?
Yes, the BRN will accept anonymous complaints. However, complaints that do not include the name of the person involved or do not include specific details, including dates and times, list of witnesses or contacts, as well as any documentary evidence are difficult to adequately investigate. If a complainant “confidentially” provides his or her name, address or phone number, the BRN cannot and does not guarantee anonymity if the case goes to hearing because you have a right to confront and cross examine witnesses as part of the appeals process.

4. How will a complaint be processed?
Within 10 days after receipt of a complaint, the BRN sends the complainant written notification of receipt. Enforcement Program staff evaluate the complaint and obtain any additional preliminary information needed. This is done for appropriate prioritization. Depending on this step, the complaint is handled in one or more of the following ways:

  • Close non-jurisdictional Complaints that do not fall within the BRN’s jurisdictional authority are closed and referred to the appropriate agency.
  • Refer to the Diversion Program Complaints involving chemical dependency, alcohol abuse, or mental illness are referred and evaluated for eligibility for the Diversion Program.
  • Refer to the Nursing Education Consultant (NEC) For nursing practice complaints, Board NECs may conduct the initial investigation to further assess the complaint. The NECs and/or outside experts may also become involved in the analysis of DOI reports.
  • Refer to the Division of Investigation (DOI) Complaints which appear to involve a violation of the Nursing Practice Act are referred to the DOI for an investigation.

5. Who conducts the investigation?
DOI employs sworn peace officers to conduct investigations on behalf of the BRN.

6. What happens during an investigation?
The investigator will interview the nurse licensee and, as needed, interview the complainant, patient, co-workers and employers. The investigator will also gather documentation, such as patient records, personnel records, etc., from relevant sources. After all pertinent information is collected, the investigator prepares a report for the BRN.

7. Can a complainant check on the status of a complaint I filed?
A complainant generally does not receive status updates or investigative details after the initial complaint is made and complaint information is gathered. Enforcement Program staff does not discuss details or give status updates on complaints pending investigation. Complaints are confidential and are not public record unless an accusation is filed.

8. What does “Accusation Filed” mean?
If there is sufficient evidence to substantiate a violation of the Nursing Practice Act, a pleading is filed by the BRN with the Attorney General’s Office. The RN is sent an accusation, which is a legal document that lists formal charges, and is given an opportunity to dispute the charges at an administrative hearing or negotiate a stipulated agreement. The accusation is a public record. The complainant will be notified in writing if an accusation is served upon the RN.

9. How long will it take to resolve a complaint?
This depends on the complexity of a complaint and the type of review necessary to address the allegation. It also depends on whether a complaint is substantiated. Therefore, the complaint can take anywhere from several months to a couple of years to resolve.

10. What does “Closed without Merit” mean?
After review and/or investigation, evidence was not found to substantiate a violation of the Nursing Practice Act.

11. What does “Closed with Merit” mean?
The violation did not reach a level where the Attorney General’s Office could substantiate the imposition of limitations or restrictions on the registered nurse’s license. However the complaint will be maintained on file for future reference.

12. What does “Citation and Fine” mean?
In lieu of filing an accusation, a citation, which may contain an administrative fine and/or order of abatement, can be issued for lesser violations of the Nursing Practice Act.