A significant amount of time, effort, and money go into becoming a registered nurse (RN) in California. Nurses must complete nursing school and pass the national licensing examination to obtain a license from the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). You cannot practice as an RN without this license.
Having your nursing license suspended is highly stressful, but it’s not necessarily permanent. In this article, you will learn about the complications of suspension and the steps you need to take to reinstate your license successfully.
A summary suspension is one of several possible disciplinary actions for nurses that violate the Nursing Practice Act (NPA). Violations can include positive criminal background checks, fraud, sexual misconduct, boundary violations, abuse, and other practice-related or drug-related violations. If you have been found guilty of a violation after a thorough investigation, you may receive a summary suspension from the BRN.
Unlike other forms of suspension, a summary suspension takes effect immediately. The moment you receive the written order of suspension, you must cease working as a nurse. The notice will include the reason for suspension and requirements for re-licensure.
It is crucial to review the requirements, as they can vary greatly from case to case. For example, a suspension caused by a practice-related clinical error (such as improper administration of medication) may require the completion of a nursing education course within a specific timeframe. The more serious your violation is, the higher the hurdle for re-licensure.
The timeframe for reinstating a license will differ on a case-to-case basis. It is best to consult your order of suspension for information on your timeframe. Depending on the severity of the violation, you can apply for reinstatement as early as a month later or as late as several years later.
If you have a longer timeframe, the BRN may require you to complete a clinical update course before reinstatement. This ensures that your nursing skills are up to speed and certifies that you are still capable of practicing nursing.
In some states (including California), continuing medical education (CME) is also required for re-licensure. Compared to the other requirements, this can be easy to accomplish. You can take some courses online or through conferences and association meetings.
Once you have fulfilled all the requirements, you can file a petition for reinstatement at the BRN. However, there are a few additional steps you need to be aware of.
Once you have received an order of suspension, the actions you take afterward can greatly impact your chances of reinstatement. Here are three steps that you need to take:
Some nurses mistake dismissing their show cause hearing believing it is optional. When you have been handed an order of summary suspension, you have given the BRN reason to suspect you of a violation. They believe that you are a danger to public health and safety and should not be allowed to practice.
Attending and participating in your show cause hearing is your best chance at disproving that belief. If you neglect to show up, there will be no one else to clear your name at the hearing.
Keep in mind that your focus should be on securing a favorable resolution when the BRN makes the final decision on your case. Focus on a long-term goal because it’s unlikely your suspension will get reversed during the hearing.
Show the BRN that you take the situation seriously and are willing to remedy the problem. For example, if your nursing license was suspended because of reported drug usage, you could apply for the BRN’s Intervention Program or enter drug addiction counseling.
Be proactive when addressing the BRN’s concerns about your capability to practice. Actively demonstrate that you are willing to take the necessary steps for resolution and paint yourself in a positive light. Then, when the time comes for the BRN to make the final decision for your license, you will have better chances of getting your license reinstated.
Most nurses overlook the value of working with an attorney. By handling negotiations, paperwork, and guidance, healthcare attorneys can help you achieve peace of mind along the way.
Reinstating your license after a suspension is an uphill battle, but it is not one you need to face alone.
The help of experienced healthcare licensing attorneys is crucial to successfully navigating the process. With deep knowledge of the BRN’s policies, investigation process, possible resolutions, and more, attorneys can help negotiate with board investigators to craft resolutions and agreements.
If you have been served an order of summary suspension, feel free to reach out to us at Fenton Law Group for experienced legal assistance.