When a nurse is under investigation, a common question for them is, “Can I keep working?” This is a significant concern, as it directly impacts the nurse’s life, the status of their nursing license and, most importantly, their ability to continue providing care. The response isn’t straightforward as it is dependent on the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN).
Nursing board determines need for suspension
In California, whether a nurse can continue to practice during a nursing license investigation generally depends on the details of the individual case. If the BRN concludes that a nurse presents an immediate risk to public safety, they have the authority to take action. The BRN can request an interim suspension order (ISO), which is a specific legal measure assessed by an administrative law judge. Once granted by the judge, this order would suspend the nurse’s license and prevent them from practicing during the investigation.
Treading carefully while under investigation
In cases where the board does not request an ISO, or the judge does not grant one, the nurse may keep working while under investigation. During this time, the Enforcement Program staff will closely monitor the nurse and their activities. Any further complaints or signs of unsafe behavior could change the status of the investigation and lead to more immediate action.
Protecting their rights and license
Generally, a nurse might be able to keep working during an investigation. However, each situation is unique and factors such as company policies could come into play. The BRN works to complete investigations quickly and thoroughly, always with public safety in mind. So, while a nurse may be able to keep working, it’s always critical for the nurse to follow all the rules and standards set by the BRN. This is important to avoid any additional issues or risks to their license. If the situation becomes complex, they should seek the help of legal counsel to work through the process and prevent further complications.