What is the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN)?

Nurses looking at medical system on a computer

Are you a nurse facing a disciplinary action or criminal charges?

Whether you are facing an investigation in front of the BRN or BVNPT, it helps to know experienced attorneys like Scott J. Harris, who can help you navigate the complex legal system and protect your license.

This article is to understand more about your options and why it makes sense to seek the services of an experienced nurse license defense attorney. 

The BRN is a California government agency established to regulate registered nurses’ practice. Their primary interest is protecting the public, and they are governed by the Nursing Protection Act (NPA). The California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) is a government agency that regulates registered nurses’ practice to protect the public, governed by the Nursing Protection Act (NPA). On the other hand, the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT) is responsible for regulating and certifying vocational nurses and psychiatric technicians.

What Is the Nursing Protection Act?

The NPA can be found within the California Business and Professions Code. It constitutes the body of state law that dictates the parameters and responsibilities of all registered nurses operating in California. You can find the NPA starting at Section 2700 in the California Business and Professions Code.

What Does the NPA Do?

California started regulating RNs as early as 1905, and while the specific laws have changed over time, the Board’s purpose remains to protect the public by standardizing educational requirements and defining a specific scope of practice. 

It creates a universal standard that all RNs operating within the state must adhere to. Additionally, the NPA sets expectations for standards of practice that must be adhered to throughout an RN’s career.

What Types of Licenses Does the BRN Issue?

The BRN is responsible for issuing several nursing licenses and certificates. This section will describe each license type in detail.

  • Registered Nurse License

For prospective nurses, registering for an approved professional nursing program at a licensed educational facility is the first step toward obtaining a Registered Nurse License. There are a wealth of online resources to show which programs have been approved within the state.

From there, the candidate will progress through the program. 

However, at some point, they will need to apply for licensure and take the NCLEX-RN Exam. Successful completion of this process requires a criminal background check. If the candidate fails the examination, they will need to reapply and pay another fee.

If a candidate has successfully completed the background check but has not finished their approved nursing program, they can apply for an interim permit for just $50.

  • Nurse Practitioner Certificate

The requirements for becoming a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in California are similar to the rest of the country. Becoming an NP in California requires additional training above and beyond an RN License. To successfully apply, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Hold California licensed RN certification
  • Hold a graduate degree
  • Obtain National Nurse Practitioner Certification
  • Complete an application issued by the California BRN

Individuals who already hold RN certification should enroll in a California-based nurse practitioner program. Regarding educational requirements, many aspiring NPs choose to obtain a Master of Science in Nursing. If you are considering advancing to Doctoral candidacy, that is certainly an option but is not required by the State of California. 

  • Advanced Practice and Public Health Nurse Certificates

If you are trying to obtain an Advanced Practice Nursing Certificate, you must be a licensed RN first. This certification has several specialty areas, including the following:

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
  • Nurse Anesthetist (NA)
  • Nurse-Midwife (NMW)
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)

Most of these specialties have multiple pathways to certification. However, becoming an NA is subject to specialized requirements from the BRN. Traditionally, the Board is very particular about certification for this field.

What is the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT)?

The BVNPT is separate from the BRN. Their primary goal is to protect the public from irresponsible and unsafe vocational nurses (VNs) and psychiatric technicians (PTs). Given the level of trust placed in professionals occupying these positions, it is evident why regulatory oversight is paramount.

The BVNPT has licensing, regulatory, and disciplinary functions that are all implemented in the interest of protecting the public. Their approach to public safety primarily consists of regulation and certification requirements and includes all of the following establishments, adoptions, and enforcements:

  • Establishes minimum requirements for professional examinations and licensure
  • Establishes educational standards required for VN and PT accreditation
  • Adopts regulations governing performance, practice, and discipline of licensees
  • Enforces accreditation laws pertaining to schools for VNs and PTs
  • Takes disciplinary action against licensees in violation of BVNPT standards

In summation, the BVNPT holds sway over all avenues of accreditation and can take swift disciplinary action against incompetent and unsafe licensees. Their sole mission is to protect the public, so as long as the licensee acts within the public’s best interests while adhering to BVNPT standards, they shouldn’t run afoul of any regulations.

How does a Nurse License Defense Attorney Help with the BRN or BVNPT?

When a licensee runs afoul of regulations, it places their license in peril. When this happens, they enlist the services of a nurse license defense attorney.

Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. In this situation, a nurse license defense attorney can represent you if you are facing criminal charges or disciplinary action. If you have just found out you are facing an investigation or disciplinary hearing, having the right attorney by your side can make all the difference.

An Attorney Can Also Help with Obtaining a New License

Additionally, a nurse license defense attorney can assist prospective licensees with obtaining their license from the BRN or BVNPT. A knowledgeable, committed attorney can make the entire process far less stressful by guiding you through each step and pointing out common pitfalls you should avoid. 

Attorney Scott J. Harris has years of experience providing comprehensive defense to nursing professionals involved in cases before the BPN and BVNPT. His experience includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:

  • Applications
  • Denials
  • Investigations
  • Defense against accusations warranting discipline
  • Petitions for reinstatement
  • License suspension or revocation
  • Probation

S J Harris Law can help you understand your options and provide the valuable legal insight that only a dedicated nurse license defense attorney can offer.

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When dealing with these complex issues, you need legal representation that has a long track record of success in these types of cases. Scott Harris and the rest of our team at S J Harris Law will be ready to help you pursue any option available that allows you to keep your license and continue working, no matter what industry you are in.


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