A Nursing career is a challenging but rewarding profession. As a nurse, a nurse practitioner, an advanced practice nurse, or a licensed vocational nurse you have dedicated your life to helping care for others, so when a claim of misconduct arises, it is especially painful to face allegations and charges that might prevent you from performing the job you love. At the Law Office of Nicole Irmer, we are experienced Nursing License Defense Attorneys who understand the steps necessary to protect your license and allow you to continue working in your chosen profession. If you have been contacted by an Investigator, received an Accusation, or have been denied a License please contact us today at (619) 237-6130, to better understand your rights and options.
As an experienced nursing license defense attorney, at the Law Office of Nicole Irmer, we can assist you with understanding the following issues that may impact your nursing license:
The California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) prides itself on being a tough and vigorous agency taking the public’s protection to heart. Often times discipline is severe if the Nurse is found to be in violation of the Nursing Practice Act. You will need a strong and experienced nursing license defense attorney to help successfully resolve your nursing board matter. The following are possible resolutions of a Board disciplinary matter:
Just as the Board of Registered Nursing, the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technician (BVNPT), too, prides itself on protecting public safety. To this end, the BVNPT ensures that only qualified persons are licensed vocational nurses and psychiatric technicians by enforcing education requirements, standards of practice and by educating consumers of their rights. The BVNPT enforces the same disciplinary actions and sanctions as the BRN.
A Nurses license can come under discipline at various stages of the licensing process, or they can be denied a license based upon a complaint, an ethical violation, or criminal conviction.
The Board may initiate an Investigation into a Nurse’s license for many reasons including sustaining a criminal arrest and/or conviction, or a complaint by a doctor, hospital, patient, or even an anonymous complaint. If you receive a letter, email, or phone call from an Investigator, please contact our office at (619) 237-6130 immediately, because there is a potential to resolve your matter during the investigation stage of your matter with the assistance of an experienced and well-respected nursing license defense attorney. If a case is resolved during the Investigative Phase of a Board’s Action, the allegations against your license will not be published to the Board’s Website.
If your matter is not resolved during the Investigation stage, or you were never notified that there was an investigation into your license, the Board may file a Formal Accusation against your license. The Accusation will request that your license be revoked and will state the reasons your license is under discipline. When you receive this document, you have a very limited window in which you must reply or your case goes into Default, and you will lose your license. After you receive the Accusation, you need an experienced nursing license defense lawyer on your side.
Our office has represented hundreds of Nursing Professionals, we pride ourselves in representing our clients holistically and demonstrating to the Board that our Nurses are stellar caregivers, they are amazing at their job, and thus they should not be judged solely by either a lapse in judgment leading to a criminal arrest and/or conviction or by an unfounded allegation.
At the Law Office of Nicole Irmer, we represent our Nurses with a comprehensive two-prong approach.
If your matter is not resolved during the Accusation Phase there will be an OAH Hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings. Although the hearing is technically reported to be an “informal hearing,” it is not. There is a courtroom, there is an Administrative Law Judge, there are legal rules of evidence, and there is an Attorney from the Board with many years of experience. Nicole Irmer has more than twenty years of experience defending clients in Court, not only before the Office of Administrative Hearings but also before both the California Superior Court and the United States Federal Court.
At the Law Office of Nicole Irmer, we will fight for you, and protect your rights to the fullest extent.
Although not clearly stated on their website, the Board of Registered Nursing has made it clear that Registered Nurses must disclose that they have been convicted of an offense within thirty days. If a nurse fails to disclose, they could face further discipline with the BRN for Unprofessional Conduct. It is important to seek representation early in the process to attempt to litigate the matter with the Board before a formal Accusation is filed, and the conviction is made public via the Boards website and Breeze. To learn more about how our office can assist you in this process, please click here.
As an “alternative” to the Disciplinary Hearings, the Board may offer a Nurse Diversion. The Diversion program is a voluntary program for Nurses, whose ability to function as a Nurse may be impaired by substance use or by mental illness. Deciding to enroll in Diversion is an important decision. The Diversion program is long, expensive, and demanding. For some nurses, Diversion is a great way to gain sobriety and fully commit to living a clean and healthy lifestyle. For other Nurses, however, they find that Diversion is unproductive. If you are unsuccessful while in Diversion, there can be harsh consequences including a referral for License Discipline. Therefore, if you are offered Diversion, by the Board, you need an experienced attorney to help you consider all of your legal options and to explain the potential benefits and consequences of enrolling in the Board’s Diversion Program.
When you apply for a nursing license, you are required to submit to a background screening, where the Board will be informed of past criminal convictions. Many nurses fail to appreciate the gravity of their past conviction, or their opportunity to submit Mitigation documenting rehabilitation. The applications process is the most opportune time to persuade the Board to issue a full and unencumbered license. The application phase is also the only time an applicant will be able to litigate their matter privately, and before their conviction has been published to the Board’s website. As experienced nursing license defense attorneys, our office has assisted many professional license applicants with their criminal conviction disclosure and earn a full and unencumbered license.
If you applied for a Nursing License, and your Application has been denied you still have many rights and options, including sitting for the NCLEX examination. Immediately after you receive your Denial, you should contact our office to help you navigate your way through the Board’s confusing processes. On your behalf, our office will file your Denial Appeal and begin negotiations with the Board. If and when the Statement of Issues is filed, an experienced nursing license defense lawyer will walk you through the process, continue zealously negotiating on your behalf, prepare mitigating documentation, and, if necessary, aggressively litigate your matter before the Office of Administrative Hearings.
At the Law Office of Nicole Irmer, we have helped many Nurse Applicants, who have successfully completed the grueling demands of nursing school, achieve their Nursing License. Attorney Nicole Irmer wholeheartedly believes that one mistake prior to applying for your Nursing License should not completely halt one’s desire to enter into the nursing profession. She has successfully advocated on behalf of nursing applicants and has helped them begin their successful and meaningful career as a Nurse.
Nicole Irmer has represented countless Nurses during all phases of the disciplinary process. You may think that you can challenge an Investigation or Accusation on your own, or that if you ignore it, then it will go away. But your matter will not go away by itself, and although it may seem easy to defend yourself, you are risking your livelihood, career, and financial security. The Board’s Investigator or Attorney may imply this is an informal process but it is not! The Board’s representatives have decades of experience on their side; you need an experienced and skilled nursing license defense attorney fighting for you.
The California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) investigates complaints that are related to a licensee’s ability to practice as a nurse. This includes complaints regarding:
Drug and/or alcohol abuse
Gross negligence or incompetence that results in patient endangerment
Fraud or theft offenses
Sexual, violent, or abusive criminal offenses
Other criminal charges or convictions related to the practice of nursing
Mentally impaired to the extent that a nurse is unable to practice safely
Practicing nursing without a license
Violations of conditions of probation.
Each of these areas relates to the BRN’s mission of protecting the public through the regulation of the practice of registered nurses pursuant to the Nursing Practice Act (NPA). For this reason, complaints about issues that are not relevant to the safe practice of nursing are outside of the BRN’s jurisdiction. This may include matters such as rudeness, billing disputes, and interpersonal conflicts.
Under the NPA, registered nurses must report criminal convictions to the BRN. This includes any conviction due to a guilty plea or verdict, as well as a plea of nolo contendere (“no contest”) to criminal charges. If a conviction was later set aside after a no-contest plea, it must still be disclosed. This includes convictions for infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies, as well as military convictions, dishonorable discharges, and juvenile crimes for which you were tried as an adult.
However, arrests that did not lead to a conviction, and infractions with a fine of less than $1,000 do not need to be reported, unless the infraction involved alcohol or controlled substances. Similarly, traffic offenses with a fine of less than $1,000 do not need to be reported.
In a report to the BRN, a licensee must provide:
A detailed written explanation of the facts and circumstances related to the conviction;
Documents related to the arrest and conviction, including court documents; and
Any mitigating evidence or evidence of rehabilitation.
Failure to disclose all or part of a conviction may result in disciplinary action.
If the charge is substantially related to the duties of a registered nurse, then the BRN may issue discipline, including probation, suspension, revocation, or denial of a license. Because there is a potential for discipline associated with reporting a conviction, you should consult with an experienced San Diego healthcare license defense attorney before submitting this information to the Board.
The BRN offers an Intervention Program for registered nurses whose ability to practice safely may be impaired by substance use disorder or mental illness. This program is voluntary, which means that you do not have to participate in it if you do not wish to do so. Registered nurses are referred to this program due to a complaint indicating that they may be impaired due to substance use disorder or mental illness, or if the RN has been charged with a crime related to drugs and/or alcohol.
There are pros and cons associated with the Intervention Program. The main benefit of this program is the possibility of avoiding disciplinary action for the underlying complaint or conviction if you successfully complete the program. However, the program is very demanding and there are many factors to consider when enrolling in the program, including:
Your license will immediately be deactivated, and you will not be able to practice for the duration of the program (which can last anywhere from 12 months to 3 years).
Your license may be restricted when you return to work.
The program has a number of strict requirements, such as a daily meeting for 90 days, mandatory weekly support groups, daily call-ins, and random urine testing.
The program is costly, with RNs paying for drug testing up to 3 times per week, nursing support group fees, the cost of treatment itself, and administrative fees
You may still face disciplinary action, depending on the underlying complaint or conviction, or if you fail to complete the program.
The decision to enter the Intervention Program is a complex and an individual decision. To discuss the pros and cons of entering into the Invention Program, it may be helpful to consult with a California Licensing Defense Attorney.
At the Law Office of Nicole Irmer, we can evaluate the best course of action for your circumstances and take a proactive, zealous, and understanding approach to any issues that may threaten your license. If you are under Investigation, have been denied a License, recently arrested or convicted of a criminal violation, received a letter from the Board, or have a formal Accusation filed against you contact us immediately at (619) 237-6130.
Ms. Irmer provided me representation for a DUI conviction. She was exceptionally knowledgeable, professional and supportive. Her representation and guidance resulted in a positive outcome, allowing me the ability to continue my nursing career and professional goals. Ms. Irmer’s expertise in these matters is priceless. I am sincerely grateful for her representation and greatly recommend her.