I received professional development funding to attend an annual nursing conference, the California Colleges of Nursing Conference, in fall 2016 that was jointly sponsored by the California Association of Colleges of Nursing (CACN) and the California Organization of Associate Degree Nursing Program Directors (CO-A.D.N.)
The Vanguard Nursing Program is a member of CACN and values the opportunity to attend conferences that keep us involved with the current state of nursing practice and education, as well as political issues and trends that impact us as academic nurse leaders.
Relevant Information for Nursing Faculty
At the conference, the deans, directors, and faculty throughout the state of California (CA) had the unique opportunity to hear from Dr. Joseph Morris, the new Executive Officer of the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN).
Since joining the BRN in July 2016, Dr. Morris hit the ground running in responding to a variety of significant problems including delayed processing time for new graduate licensure, licensure of endorsements for out-of-state RNs, Advanced Practice RN regulations, and public health certification. In the few short months since his tenure began, the BRN has undergone significant reorganization, implemented new processing strategies, hired additional staff, and redistributed its work flow to resolve a variety of issues that have negatively impacted nursing practice in California.
Relevant Information for Non-nursing Faculty
In reflecting on what would be significant for non-nursing Vanguard faculty to hear about from this conference, I thought you would like to know about the role of the BRN in protecting the health of CA state residents, including yourself and your loved ones. The BRN is a state governmental agency established by law to protect the public by regulating the practice of RNs. It is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the Nursing Practice Act. These are laws related to nursing education, licensure, practice, and discipline. The Nursing Practice Act (NPA) created a nine-member Board which serves as the BRN decision-making body.
The BRN regulates CA RNs. There are over 430,000 registered nurses in the state of CA providing health care services in a variety of settings. The BRN performs a variety of activities in its mission to protect consumers, including setting RN educational standards, approving CA nursing programs, evaluating licensure applications, issuing and renewing licenses and certificates, taking disciplinary action, managing an intervention program, and operating an online license verification system. That is a long list of important responsibilities!
If a nurse violates the NPA, the BRN may take disciplinary action against the nurse’s license. Grounds for discipline focus on behaviors that place patients at risk of harm. The disciplinary action is dependent on the nature and severity of the violation and what is necessary to protect the public. The disciplinary action becomes a part of the RN’s file and is accessible to the public. For the impaired nurse, the BRN’s Intervention Program is an alternative to the discipline process for nurses whose practice may be impaired due to chemical dependency or mental illness. This worthwhile and confidential program protects the public while enabling the nurse to be rehabilitated.
Each nursing faculty and all RNs who apply to our nursing program are evaluated to ensure that they have a clear nursing license. We do that by accessing the RNs licensure information that is available in an online licensure verification system called BreEZe. Online services are available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The BRN’s online license verification system allows any consumer, including yourself, to validate the status of a nurse’s license to find out if:
- the person is licensed as an RN
- the license is active, inactive, or lapsed
- the nurse has any BRN certificates
- there is any disciplinary action against the license
Complaints about RNs may also be filed through the BreEZe system. Such complaints are first reviewed to determine if the Board has the authority to investigate the complaint. The Board can only investigate RNs who are licensed by the Board, applicants for licensure, or individuals who hold themselves out to the public as RNs. The Board can only investigate complaints that, if found to be valid, are violations of the NPA or the regulations that have been adopted by the Board.
The take home message from this blog is that the health and safety of every California resident is protected through the BRN and Department of Consumer Affairs. The BRN is committed to ensuring public safety through monitoring and regulating nursing education programs and nursing licensure and certification. They are committed to regulating nursing practice to ensure that the nurses who care for you are safe and competent practitioners.
If you are concerned about the professional practice and safety of a nurse who is caring for you, you may access the BreEZe system to verify the RN’s credentials and/or to file a complaint.
One of the nights at the conference, We were treated to dinner at this amazing restaurant from the Kaplan conference vendor.It was a wonderful conference and I’m grateful for this chance to share about the experience.