How does a DUI effect a Nursing License in California?
The California Board of Registered Nursing regulates licensing for nurses in the state of California and takes DUI’s very seriously. Depending on the nature of the case, a Registered Nurse in California can face revocation of their nursing license, suspension of their nursing license or probation. The Board of Registered Nursing has established a diversion program that can be helpful to some nurses, depending on the nature of their case.
Why does the Board of Registered Nursing care about a DUI?
The California Board of Registered Nursing is responsible for ensuring nurses in the state of California can do their jobs safely and professionally. As a way to protect the public, the Board has adopted a stance that treats DUI’s and other alcohol related offense as a threat to the public at large. In the Board’s view, a nurse who is engaging in conduct involving an alcohol related offense may have an alcohol or substance abuse problem that effects their ability to safely carry out the duties their nursing license requires.
What kinds of things can the Board of Registered Nursing do to my license?
The most drastic form of discipline for RN’s is a license revocation. This would mean the Board of Registered Nursing would take away a nurse’s license to practice as an RN in California. The revocation could be for a term of years, or for life.
A more common form of discipline is a license suspension. In these cases, the nurse is prohibited from exercising the duties of an RN during the suspension period.
Another action that is common in RN cases involving DUI is probation. The Board of Registered Nursing will place the nurse on probation, during which time they can exercise the privileges of their license and keep working, but they are monitored and face more severe penalties if they have any future violations.