Why It’s Important to Obey an Order to Compel a Psychological Evaluation


If you are a licensed nurse in the state of California, then you are subject to the rules and regulations of the California Board of Nursing. Among the rules and regulations of the Board are rules that relate to the use of substances and substance abuse. If a licensed nurse has been alleged to behave erratically or have mood swings at work due to potential substance abuse problems, then the Board can initiate an investigation into the matter.

This investigation can dig into your personal and private life and will look for signs to link drug or alcohol abuse to your ability to perform your job as a nurse. An investigation can also lead to an order to compel a psychological evaluation. A failure to comply with this order can have permanent consequences to your nursing license. If you have received an order to compel, then it is important to speak to an experienced nursing license defense attorney immediately.


The California Board of Nursing is governed by the California Business & Professions Code. Under Section 820 of this Code, a registered nurse can be examined by one or more physicians, surgeons, or psychologists if the registered nurse may be unable to practice nursing safely because of an impairment. This impairment can be a mental or physical illness that affects competency. Under Section 821 of the Code, a failure to comply with an Order to Compel constitutes grounds for a suspension or revocation of a nursing license.

The results of a psychological examination can lead to a few different outcomes with the Board. If the nurse is found to be mentally stable and able to perform their job competently, then the Board can dismiss the action against the nurse altogether. If the nurse has reasons for concern, then a formal charge of misconduct will likely follow. If the nurse is dealing with substance abuse issues, then the Board will want to be sure that the nurse is unlikely to relapse into substance abuse in the future. Whatever the exam a nurse is facing, it is critical to be prepared and understand the process at hand when facing the Board of Nursing. The results of a psychological evaluation can have long-term and permanent effects on a nurse’s ability to practice nursing. If you are a nurse and have legal questions, then call us at The S.J. Harris Law Office so we can help!


The S.J. Harris Law Office is proud to offer FREE 30-minute consultations to all prospective clients. We understand that registered nurses are professionals who require representation that values discretion and privacy. All conversations will be protected by the attorney-client privilege. At S.J. Harris Law, we put our focus into preserving three things; your license, your reputation, and your future. Let our experience go to work for you today. Call us at (310) 361-8585 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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This blog is meant to be informational. It is not meant to be all-encompassing legal advice. If you are facing a situation involving your professional license, seek counsel from a licensed attorney.

Author : Scott J Harris