The California Board of Registered Nursing or BRN, is responsible for approving new nursing licenses in the state of CA. If you are a California nurse who has applied for a new nursing license or to have your existing nursing license renewed and your application has been denied or your renewal seems to be delayed, you need to proceed very carefully to review your options.
- Have you ever been charged with a crime? Did you report this on your nursing license application?
- Have you ever had a criminal conviction even if it occurred many, many years ago and even if not in California?
- As a California nurse, have you been detained or arrested for a DUI?
Did you know?
- Both misdemeanor and felony convictions must be reported on a nursing license application as well as “driving under the influence” convictions.
- Criminal convictions must be reported even if they have been expunged under Penal Code Section 1203.4 and even if the nursing license applicant has successfully completed a diversion program under the Penal or Article 5 of the Vehicle Code (Business and Professions Code Section 492) .
- And all prior or current disciplinary action against a nursing license must be reported, whether it occurred in California or in another state or territory.
The California BRN’s statutory authority for denial of licensure is set out in Business and Professions Code Sections 480-487, 492, 493, 496, 810, 820-828, 2750-2765, and 2795-2797. The law provides for denial of licensure for crimes or criminal acts, which are “substantially related to nursing qualifications, functions, or duties”. A crime or act meets this criterion if, to a substantial degree, it evidences “present or potential unfitness to perform nursing functions in a manner consistent with the public health, safety, or welfare” (California Code of Regulations, Section 1444).
But how is this defined in practice?
The BRN considers most convictions involving sex crimes, drug crimes, and crimes of violence to be substantially related to nursing practice.
Board regulations list examples of such crimes or acts include (but are not be limited to):
- Assaultive and abusive conduct.
- Failure to comply with mandatory reporting requirements.
- Theft, dishonesty, fraud and deceit.
- Convictions or acts resulting in registration under Section 290 of the Penal Code.
In addition, the BRN may also deny a license to a nurse for:
- Any act involving dishonesty, fraud, or deceit with intent to substantially benefit self or another or to substantially injure another.
- Any act which is grounds for revocation of a license.
- Making a false statement on the application for license.
- Breach of examination security.
You should know that now with the internet, criminal background checks will reveal past criminal convictions in minutes to the BRN. They will have full visibility about an applicant’s past criminal history regardless of whether the applicant revealed this sufficiently in their application. In their decision about an applicant’s case, the Board will consider both the nature, severity, and recency of the offense(s), as well as any evidence of an applicant’s rehabilitation as well as other key factors.
If you are a California nurse who needs to report past criminal convictions, you should retain the services of an experienced attorney with both a licensing (Administrative Law) and Criminal Law background to assist you with completing your nursing application. By hiring a legal expert skilled in working with the BRN on nursing license applications, you will be setting yourself up for success in the application process.
An experienced licensing and criminal lawyer can assist with:
- Knowing what specific types of documentation about your criminal history will be required and at what level of detail for the BRN.
- How to position your licensing application and criminal history with the BRN investigators so that you maximize your opportunity to present a winning case.
- How to show “evidence of rehabilitation” which will be compelling to the BRN.
- And, if necessary, how to appeal a denial of your California nursing license application.
The Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister have successfully represented a wide range of California licensed nurses and we are experienced in handling all types of BRN licensing accusations and licensing issues in addition to criminal charges. Let us help you obtain, protect and defend your California nursing license so that you can continue to practice the profession which you love.