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Responsibility Incumbent Upon RNs Whose Licenses Expire On Or After March 1, 2009

Regulations were recently approved that require the submission of fingerprints for California RNs upon license renewal if they were not previously fingerprinted by the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). This requirement applies to RNs licensed prior to August 1, 1990, unless fingerprint images are known to be on file with the BRN. For a license that expires on or after March 1, 2009, any RN not previously fingerprinted by the BRN (or for whom no record of prints exists) is required to be fingerprinted by the California Department of Justice (DOJ) in order to renew the license. Nurses also must indicate on the renewal application whether the requirement has been met.

Contrary to some interpretations of this regulation, this is not the hospital’s responsibility, nor is it a requirement placed on the hospital. This is completely incumbent upon the RN and only applies to those RNs who do not currently have prints on file with the BRN.

The BRN has identified only those nurses who received their license prior to August 1990. Most nurses who obtained their license after August 1990 already have their prints on file and do not have to be reprinted. They only need to answer on their renewal application that they have been printed and answer whether they have been convicted of a criminal offense since the last time they renewed their license.

The March 1st date does not mean that all nurses who do not have prints on file need to be fingerprinted by that date. Only upon renewal of license does the nurse need to be fingerprinted. For example, a nurse whose license expires in August would have an August fingerprint deadline, not March 1st.

Best practice recommendation is to provide notice to all nurses about the regulation, complete with the reference to the same website cited in this alert. Nurses need only submit to the prints anytime prior to the expiration of their license. Only those nurses that do not comply will find their license suspended.

It is our understanding that communication to all nurses has been made by BRN, but the recommendation is that hospitals alert all nurses as well.
For more information about this healthcare background screening:

Frequently asked questions from the California BRN:

http://www.rn.ca.gov/licensees/ren-fp.shtml

The article that prompted the emergency order issued by California BRN:

http://articles.latimes.com/2008/oct/24/local/me-nurses24
Questions? Visit www.CorporateScreening.com, contact Corporate Screening Support at 800-229-8606 and select option 3, or contact your Account Representative for more information about medical background checks.