BRN News Summary


BRN News Summary

Smile, you don't have to read the whole thing

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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Since the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) no longer sends out copies of its newsletter by mail, many nurses don’t bother to read it. However, the newsletter remains a great source of information about recent legislation affecting nurses, changes in nursing practice, and employment opportunities with the board. We know you’re busy, so let us help out by providing a recap from the most recent issue.

Where Do the Fees Go?

If you were wondering how those hefty license fees were being used, the current newsletter describes four separate programs funded by those revenues:
•  Enforcement of nursing regulations, including investigation of complaints.

•  Diversion programs for RNs suffering mental health or substance abuse issues.

•  Exams and endorsement for initial licensure, including fingerprint checking.

•  Verification and approval of continuing education providers.

Since the BRN is self-supporting — it is not funded by taxpayer dollars like many other state agencies — license and application fees also go to pay for the board’s operating expenses, including administrative and IT support, travel and expert witness fees.

A listing of recently enacted legislation affecting nursing is always part of the BRN’s annual newsletter. Here are some new nursing-related laws enacted in the past year:

• Unpaid taxes. AB 1424 requires the BRN to suspend any current license or certificate holder and refuse licensure or certification to any applicant if that individual has outstanding tax obligations and appears on a certified list from the applicable state agency.

• Cosmetic procedures. SB 100 calls for new Medical Board regulations (effective Jan. 1, 2013) on the availability of physicians in clinics performing elective cosmetic procedures using lasers or intense pulse light devices.

• Emergency treatment in schools. SB 161 allows school districts to enroll non-medical school employees in a training program on emergency medical treatment for children who suffer epileptic seizures while at school.
• Military veterans. SB 943 requires the BRN to evaluate the competency of a registered nurse applicant who has served in the medical corps of the U.S. armed forces based solely on education. (The applicant must still meet other licensure requirements.)

Expert Witnesses

The BRN is looking for experienced nurses with particular expertise in areas like pediatric intensive care, wound care, psychiatry and hospice care (among others) to serve as expert witnesses. Responsibilities of an expert witness may include writing reports, reviewing case materials and even testifying at administrative hearings. Expert witnesses are paid for their time at a rate of $75 per hour; if you testify at a hearing, the board will also reimburse your expenses.

For a complete list of the specialties the board is looking for, the qualifications for becoming an expert witness and information on applying, see page 12 of the newsletter.

The board also has openings for nurse education consultants in the Education and Enforcement teams and is seeking nurses to write and evaluate items for the NCLEX exams (both RN and LVN versions). Qualifications for each position and information on applying can be found on pages 15 and 23 of the newsletter.

DMV Exams

New certification requirements are now in effect for advanced practice nurses who perform medical exams for the Department of Motor Vehicles. You can find details in the DMV’s newly revised “Physician Guide for Commercial Driver License Medical Exams.”

The guide also includes information about the new National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. Effective May 2014, any nurse practitioner or other medical examiner wishing to conduct medical exams for interstate commercial drivers must be listed on the National Registry.

Nursing Practice Act Expands

There have been several new and important changes to the Nursing Practice Act:

1.    Nurses are now able to dispense drugs or devices on the order of a nurse-midwife, nurse practitioner or physician assistant, as well as licensed physicians or surgeons.

2.    Such dispensation can now occur at an expanded range of locations, including student health centers and certain community clinics operated at separate locations from the licensed primary clinic.

3.    Nurses can now dispense self-administered doses and injections of FDA-approved hormonal contraceptives within strictly outlined parameters.

The newsletter also includes a wealth of other information, including statistics on the NCLEX-RN exam pass rate and a summary of recent BRN activities. In addition, the current issue contains important information about the Diversion and Enforcement divisions and short biographies of newly appointed board members.  

You can read the newsletter in its entirety at

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