California’s Board of Registered Nursing ultimately makes decisions about what will happen to a nurse’s license if the nurse receives a formal administrative complaint about their professional conduct.
Even against nurses with no prior history, the Board can impose serious consequences for violations of the Nursing Practice Act.
The most serious consequence is that the nurse loses their right legally to practice their profession in California.
However, any Board action can spell significant fallout for a registered nurse in this state. Fines and other fees can put a financial burden on a nurse and their family. Of course, a suspension or revocation of one’s license will likely mean the loss of family income.
Furthermore, any discipline, even a fine or public warning, can hurt the nurse’s reputation.
It may also make finding jobs more difficult or could raise concerns in the mind of the nurse’s current employer. Malpractice insurers may also take notice and raise their premiums.
Public decisions of the Board can also come back to haunt a nurse in a related criminal or civil proceeding.
In short, in a licensing action, the stakes are high for the nurse and their family.
The nurse will have an opportunity to tell their side of the story after a formal accusation. Still, sometimes the Board may make an incorrect decision or even violate the law at some stage of the process.
Nurses should not have to accept, and do not have to accept, the Board’s decision if it is unlawful.
They may instead choose to file what is commonly referred to as a petition for a writ with the appropriate Superior Court in this state.
The Superior Court then has the authority to review the Board’s final decision. If the court believes the decision was improper, they can send the matter back to the Board or issue other orders set out in the court’s “writ” back to the Board.
Petitions for writs can be complicated matters
Nurses who wish to ask the Superior Court for a writ will need to strictly follow all rules and procedures, especially those related to deadlines. If they fail to do so, they may lose their rights to challenge the Board’s decision.
Speaking more generally, courts give administrative agencies, including the Board, leeway when it comes to making decisions.
Before going forward with a writ, it is a good idea for a nurse to understand their alternatives and possible outcomes.