Having experienced the complexities of #nursing Boards in various states, I must emphasize that the #california Board of Nursing approach can be egregious. California has a considerable tendency to re-litigate cases already resolved in another state. It is disheartening to witness the difficulties and lack of reasonableness the California Board, led by Department of Justice Prosecutors, can display when attempting to reach settlements for inactive licenses held by nursing professionals who have long moved on from the state.
Recently, I encountered a particularly alarming case where a now #aprn had not practiced in California for several years, holding an inactive California RN license only. The client was a practicing APRN and had resolved disciplinary orders in their home state. Despite fulfilling stipulations and regaining an unencumbered license, the California Board decided to reopen the other state’s case and reissue charges already resolved in the #APRN’s home state. Such actions, coupled with the immediate offer of trial only without exploring alternatives, seemed unjustifiable, especially considering the nature of the offenses, which were minor and previously remediated. Recently, a communication with a #california Deputy Attorney General further highlighted the obstacles California DOJ Prosecutors can place in the way of the nurse in their honest intent to resolve the case fairly.
The Deputy Attorney General demonstrated a lack of willingness to negotiate, refusing telephone contact with the client and diminishing her position due to her lack of legal representation. Furthermore, the options presented—suspension, surrender, or trial—were disproportionate for a matter that did not involve patient injury or substance abuse, where the nurse complied with disciplinary orders, and where the home state Board of Nursing had returned her license to unencumbered. We were left with no choice but to escalate this matter to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), who was, according to the docket, scheduled to preside over the client’s trial. We wrote a motion to the Administrative Law Judge asking for a pre-trial mediation.
Most State Offices of Administrative Hearings offer mediation before going to a trial. The ALJ, I have found, wants to know that both parties have done all possible to come to a settlement. The ALJ, as per their expectations, should ideally encourage both parties to pursue good faith efforts towards a settlement before proceeding to trial. In this case, the DOJ Prosecutor had said and written in an email that he had no intention of negotiating or considering a settlement beyond what he had offered. We included in our exhibits the Prosecutors email in which he was curt and abrupt and stated he would not take the client’s phone calls and would not discuss any other terms than her having to return to California to work off probation or surrender her license, which would essentially be publically posted as a revocation. The only other option that was offered by the DOJ was to proceed to trial.
Our motion to the Judge included exhibits demonstrating that the nurse had only received a reprimand for the violations from the other states’ disciplinary orders. And that she had satisfied all conditions from the Board and had been granted an unencumbered license. And that the client was genuinely eager to reach an amicable resolution, acknowledging the need for appropriate consequences but firmly believing that the punishment should not surpass what her current home state, with all facts at hand, has already imposed. The ALJ agreed to our motion and scheduled a pre-trial mediation. Meditation is an informal setting where an ALJ oversees and guides the two parties to a reasonable agreement. We have had great success at mediation as it is a forum where the nurse’s voice can indeed be heard and defense of facts presented.
As Nurse Advocates, we can guide you through the disciplinary process and help you defend your license. We do not practice Law. Instead, we will work with your attorney or assist you in defending yourself, which is quite possible and is often done regarding Board disputes. Licensing disputes are based on the State’s Nurse Practice Act and all the Board’s rules, laws, and regulations (all available in the State’s Administrative/Occupational Codes). Nurses are expected to know their Nurse Practice Act and associated rules and regulations.
As Nurse Advocates, we do not practice law; we practice nursing with knowledge of the Nurse Practice Act and associated rules and regulations. We utilize the standard of care demonstrated by the evidenced-based research and peer-reviewed literature where there are false allegations about practice matters. We strive to see your charges dismissed or lessened with reasonable stipulated orders. We have been very successful with our approach. Call us for more information. There is no charge for a consult.