California’s Board of Registered Nursing

The Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) in California is a board under the umbrella of California’s Department of Consumer Affairs that licenses and regulates registered nurses (RNs) and nurses practicing under the titles of Staff or Charge Nurse, Nurse Managers, Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS), Critical Care Nurses (CCRN), Nurse Practitioners (NP), and Patient Care Coordinators. The BRN is authorized to act by the Nursing Practice Act, which also charges the BRN with disciplining nurses for violations. Complaints against a nurse may be filed by patients, family members, colleagues, employers, or the public. Once someone has triggered an investigation, your nursing license is subject to suspension or revocation, so you need to retain a professional license defense attorney to fight for your professional future.

If a nurse is convicted of a crime such as driving under the influence (DUI), that conviction will be reported to the BRN of California, triggering a disciplinary action. A DUI conviction is considered a violation of the Nurse Practice Act because:

  • It constitutes unprofessional conduct;
  • It involves the use of drugs or alcohol in a manner that poses a danger to the individual or others; and
  • It is conviction for a substantially related crime, which means it indicates actual or potential unfitness in performing nursing duties.

Although a DUI conviction is a serious complaint, it does not mean that there is no chance for a nurse to retain his or her license. In fact, the matter may be resolved a citation and a fine, which is a matter of public record if there is a written request, but the disciplinary action is not reported on the California RN Board website so it remains relatively private. Lucy S. McAllister has obtained this favorable resolution for many of her clients. Other possible outcomes include a letter of public reprimand, which is posted on the website and it is more easily accessible, and probation with the ability to return to work after a mental and physical examination shows that the nurse is not dependent on drugs of alcohol.

It is important to remember that the investigation may begin without a formal Accusation being sent to the professional. If a nurse is contacted by an investigator via a letter inquiry, a telephone call, or an in-person visit, he or she should not say anything. Any details may be used by the BRN to support a formal investigation. Enlisting the expertise of The Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister can take the stress off of the nurse and allow an experienced professional license defense attorney to possibly resolve the matter without any negative impact on the nurse’s reputation and career.