The Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) Complaint Process

The role of the Board of Registered Nursing is to protect the public by regulating the behavior of registered nurses, which is why complaints are vigorously pursued and penalties have become more severe over the past decade. It is important to contact Lucy S. McAllister, a skilled and knowledgeable California license defense attorney who has worked with the BRN of California to defend against any complaints made in association with your nursing license.

When a nursing license complaint is received by the BRN, there is a process in place that includes:

  • The opening of a complaint file;
  • Preliminary review to determine if there is a legal basis for the BRN to handle the complaint – if the BRN finds no jurisdiction then the file is closed;
  • If the BRN has jurisdiction over the complaint, it will evaluate whether the situation qualifies for the Diversion Program;
  • If the matter does not go through the Diversion Program, which is an alternative resolution process, the BRN will gather information;
  • There are two options after the investigation:
    • Closing of the file with a finding that the claim had merit but not enough evidence to pursue or the claim did not have merit; or
    • A finding that the complaint has sufficient basis to be referred to the Office of the Attorney General for prosecution. Less serious matters may be sent to another department that issues fines and citations;
  • When a complaint is prosecuted, the nurse has the right to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), who renders a non-binding decision that can be considered by the BRN before it issues its decision;
  • If the BRN issues a decision that is adverse to the nurse, he or she may appeal to the Superior Court.

There are many times throughout this process where the law offices of Lucy S. McAllister can help resolve the complaint, or minimize the impact on your license and career. This legal representation can help at any stage in the process, even if you  already received probation as the result of a disciplinary action. As your nursing license defense attorney, we can have the most impact when we become involved in the proceedings at the beginning.

If you have already gone through the complaint process and has received probation, we can help the nurse minimize the length and severity of the probation. The modification process involves:

  • After the minimum period of probation that could have been awarded passes, an attorney can file a petition requesting modification;
  • The nurse or his or her attorney presents evidence to the BRN. The Office of the Attorney General also has the right to submit evidence to be considered in the BRN’s final decision;
  • The Administrative Law Judge will render a non-binding finding; and
  • The BRN will decide to either grant or deny the nurse’s petition and may impose terms that were not in the petition or the initial decision.