California License Denial Appeals

| Posted in Licensing Defense on April 4, 2022

Student nurses are part of the backbone of medical practice. When not in classes or studying, they work under close supervision to develop nursing skills and contribute directly or indirectly to patient care. More recently, unlicensed nursing students in California were recruited to help the state’s healthcare professionals fight the effects of COVD-19

Although they are among the most hardworking and dedicated healthcare workers, California student nurses are not yet licensed. Unfortunately, some of them toil long hours to earn their qualifications, only to have their nursing license denied in the end. If this happens to you, contact the Law Office of Nicole Irmer for the skilled representation you need to appeal your denial.

Attorney Nicole Irmer understands and appreciates the hard work done by student nurses and, when their nursing license is denied, fights to protect their right to a career they love. She can help you challenge and appeal license denials that may be unfounded or even unfair.

What are Common Reasons for a California Nursing License Denial?

In California, all applicants for a professional license undergo a detailed background check. The results may lead to a recommendation that your application is denied. Although you will receive a letter outlining the reasons for the denial, below is an overview of common issues that could impact your application.

Nursing License Denied for Failure to Disclose

When Assembly Bill 2138 became law on July 1, 2020, applicants for professional licensing could no longer be asked about their criminal history on the application forms. However, that does not absolve you of your duty to disclose any past convictions, and when your background check turns up those details, you could be accused of making false statements on your RN license application.

Many student nurses violate this disclosure requirement through genuine error. They may believe that they didn’t have to disclose a conviction because it was expunged or several years old, so it can’t possibly be on their record any longer. The truth is that when you submit your fingerprints, the BNR has access to the same information available to law enforcement agencies like the Department of Justice and the FBI. If you were ever convicted, they will find out about it.

The California Board of Registered Nursing website does state that any conviction that has been expunged or dismissed will not be subject to disciplinary action (unless it involves a serious felony or a crime that requires registration), but it must be disclosed, and any convictions that occurred within seven years of the application date will undergo a full enforcement review.

If you have been denied for failure to disclose, it likely won’t be enough to state that you didn’t know you had to report the information. Nicole Irmer can review your situation and help you make an appeal that includes an explanation of the underlying conviction and the reason for your initial mistake.

Nursing License Denied for Prior Conviction

The BNR can deny a nursing license applicant if they have been convicted of any felony or even misdemeanor that is substantially related to the practice of nursing. Common examples include theft, fraud, DUI, or assault and battery. While it can help if the conviction has been expunged, the Board will consider additional factors such as:

  • How much time has passed since the conviction
  • The risk of recurrence
  • Any evidence of rehabilitation (for example, successful completion of substance abuse counseling)
  • Letters of reference and recommendation from professors, past employers, and anyone else who can attest to your good character since the conviction.

An experienced nursing license denial lawyer can put together an appeal that includes any mitigating or explanatory information that you did not include with your original application for licensure. Nicole Irmer understands that people make mistakes and can present a compelling argument for a successful appeal.

Nursing License Denied for Out of State Discipline

If you are licensed as a registered nurse in another state and have been disciplined by your state board in the past, you must disclose that information to the California BNR when you apply for a nursing license in this state. Failure to do so can be treated as making false statements on your application and result in a licensure denial, which will actually count as another strike against your registered nurse license. Talk to Nicole Irmer about addressing issues related to license discipline in another state.

Nursing License Denied for Discipline on Other Licenses

If you hold another professional license (for example, you are a licensed vocational nurse or LVN) and were disciplined by your licensing board, it could result in your California registered nurse license being denied. If you are in this situation, please let our office help you with your license denial appeal.

What If You Don’t Appeal Your Application Denial?

If you choose not to appeal the denial, you can reapply for licensure one year after the date of the denial letter. While it may seem simpler to wait and try again later, remember that a denial of your application will appear on your license record and will be reported to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and to the National Practitioner Databank. Acting on your appeal rights as soon as possible can improve your chances of getting the license you need to embark on a successful nursing career.

What is the Appeal Process for a Nursing License Denial?

If your license application is denied, you have the right to appeal the denial and to have a formal administrative hearing under Section 485(b) of the Business and Professions Code.  You must request an appeal in writing to the Board within 60 days from the date you were served the notice of denial. If you do not respond within this time frame, you automatically lose your right to a hearing and your application will be denied. As stated above, you will then have to wait a year before you can reapply for your nursing license.

If your license application has been denied by a BNR, you need to speak with an experienced licensing lawyer immediately to help you prepare your case for an appeal. Once your request for appeal has been submitted in writing, you will be given the opportunity for an Administrative Hearing.

Before the scheduled hearing date, you will receive a ‘Statement of Issues’ listing the reasons why the Board denied your license application. During the hearing, which will be presided over by an administrative law judge, each side will have the chance to make opening statements, offer evidence, and call witnesses. The Board will be represented by a Deputy Attorney General and you can be represented by a lawyer of your choice.

Upon receipt of all the evidence, the administrative law judge will prepare a written decision. If the judge agrees that the Board denied your license with cause, your application will remain denied and you will have to wait another year to reapply. This is why it’s critical to be represented by a nursing license defense lawyer who has represented clients at these hearings in the past and knows how to make a strong argument for your second chance.

The administrative law judge typically issues their decision within 30 days after the hearing. This written document will set forth the judge’s recommendation as to disciplinary action. The Board will then do one of three things- adopt the recommendation, modify it, and reject it entirely.

If the hearing decision goes against you, you can file an appeal with the Superior Court of California, but you must do so within 30 days of the date the Board’s final decision becomes effective. Your attorney can provide you with appropriate guidance on how to proceed with a court appeal.

How Can the Law Office of Nicole Irmer Help?

Getting your nursing license is a requirement for working as a registered nurse in California. When that future is jeopardized because of a misunderstanding or past mistake, you may face a series of stressful interactions with investigators and the Board. If you are facing a license denial or revocation, you should contact an experienced California nursing license defense lawyer.

Attorney Nicole Irmer has years of experience handling several nursing license defense cases. Her extensive knowledge of the laws applying to healthcare licenses and her background as a criminal defense attorney put her in the unique position of being able to protect the rights of student nurses facing license denials. She has achieved favorable outcomes in cases involving license denial, revocation, and reinstatement, and will fight to improve your chances of getting the license you need for your future.

Nursing License Denied? Get Experienced Legal Help Now!

Attorney Nicole Irmer is committed to representing student nurses seeking to overcome a license denial. She will guide you through the disciplinary process by representing you before the Board of Nursing and any required administrative hearings. She knows how nurses pour their hearts and souls into their work and will put the same degree of passion into your license defense. To schedule a confidential initial consultation, call us at (619) 237-6130 or contact us online.