Intervention Frequently Asked Questions

I received a letter from the Intervention Program

Is the Program right for me?

  • I was arrested for only one DUI.
    Studies show that being addicted to alcohol and/or other substances is a potential factor in DUI arrests. Since a single DUI may be a symptom of a deeper issue with alcohol and/or drugs, you should also consider if there are other areas in your life that may indicate an issue with alcohol and/or drugs. Other symptoms may include a pattern of use that negatively impacts your personal relationships, your health, or your professional life. Many nurses who were arrested for one DUI have benefited from participating in BRN’s Intervention Program.
  • I diverted drugs only once.
    While the Program is not a place to avoid discipline for a one-time error, it is a place to receive help from substance use disorder (SUD). Symptoms of SUD include a pattern of use that negatively impacts a person’s relationships, health, or professional life. Additionally, there may be negative consequences legally or professionally. You could benefit by participating in BRN’s Intervention Program or learning more about substance use disorder.
  • I already enrolled in a treatment program or court-ordered diversion program.

    If you enrolled in a treatment or court-ordered diversion program, you may still benefit from participating in BRN’s Intervention Program. The Program is a comprehensive monitoring program - of which treatment (inpatient/outpatient) is only one component. If you choose to participate in BRN’s Intervention Program, you may be able to continue in your current treatment program.

    NOTE: If BRN receives a complaint against your license and, after investigation, finds there is evidence of an NPA violation, BRN may pursue appropriate disciplinary action. Participation in a treatment or court-ordered diversion program will not necessarily prevent BRN from pursuing such action. However, if you participate in and complete BRN’s Intervention Program, then disciplinary action will not be pursued against your license.

  • I have concerns only about my mental illness.
    BRN’s Intervention Program is also designed to assist RNs whose ability to practice may be impaired by a mental illness disorder. Please contact 1-800-522-9198 to request admission into BRN’s Intervention Program.
  • I previously completed BRN's Intervention Program (formerly Diversion Program).
    You may be eligible to participate in the Program again. Please contact 1-800-522-9198 to request admission into BRN’s Intervention Program.
  • I previously was disciplined by BRN for alcohol, drugs or mental illness.
    You may not be eligible if you were previously disciplined by BRN for alcohol/drug misuse or for mental illness. However, please contact BRN Intervention staff at 916-574-7692 to verify your eligibility for BRN’s Intervention Program.
  • I am transferring from another state’s diversion program.

    If you already have a California RN license, you may be able to transfer from another state's diversion program into BRN’s Intervention Program. Prior to enrolling in BRN’s Intervention Program, you should first confirm that your current state’s diversion program allows transfers. When enrolling in BRN’s Intervention Program, you will need to provide consent for each state’s program to release information to each other. This will allow your respective clinical care teams to communicate with each other and coordinate your recovery plan.

    If you do not have a California RN license, then you are not eligible for BRN’s Intervention Program. You will need to apply for an unencumbered California RN license prior to enrolling in BRN’s Intervention Program. In the meantime, you may wish to attend a local nurse support group, where you will find support from nurse peers who are also recovering from substance use disorder or mental illness.

  • I am a nursing student or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN).
    Nursing students or LVNs who are not yet licensed as an RN are not eligible for BRN’s Intervention Program. You will need to obtain for an unencumbered California RN license prior to enrolling in BRN’s Intervention Program. In the meantime, you may wish to attend a local nurse support group, where you will find support from nurse peers who are also recovering from substance use disorder or mental illness.

What happens if I decide to enroll?

  • Will BRN make public the fact that I am enrolled?
    No. By law, BRN’s Intervention Program is confidential. BRN will NOT make public any information that indicates you are currently enrolled or have completed the Intervention Program.
  • Will I be treated differently because a complaint is filed against my license?

    No. Once in the Program, nurses are treated according to their individual recovery needs—not because of how they were referred to the program. Regardless of referral type (self or board), all nurses will be met with nonjudgmental staff who are experienced and dedicated to assuring your success in recovery.

    In the event there is a complaint filed against your license (and an investigation reveals you violated the NPA), the enforcement case will NOT be referred for disciplinary action as long as you continue to participate and complete BRN’s Intervention Program.

  • Will BRN suspend my RN license if I enroll in the Intervention Program?

    No, BRN will not suspend your RN license. License suspension is considered a formal disciplinary action. BRN’s Intervention Program is an alternative-to-discipline program.

    However, when enrolling in the Program, you will agree to temporarily remove yourself from practice, so you can undergo an initial clinical diagnostic evaluation. As part of this agreement, you permit your RN license to be placed on "inactive" status—which is a standard license status option and NOT considered disciplinary action.

  • How long must I agree to be temporarily removed from practice?
    At minimum, you will be temporarily removed from practice for 30 days. However, the actual length of time before you are able to return to practice will depend on several factors that the Program must consider in determining if you are safe to return to work. These factors may include: results of the clinical diagnostic evaluation; history of substance use or mental health; current medical condition; progress as demonstrated by compliance with your entry agreement; whether you are a risk to the public; and continued abstinence from drugs as demonstrated through drug testing.
  • How will my employer be notified that I am participating in the Intervention Program?

    It will be up to you to notify your employer that you are participating in the Intervention Program. Due to the confidentiality of BRN’s Intervention Program, we must first have your written consent to communicate with your employer. You may submit to the Program a Consent to Release Information that will allow the Clinical Case Manager (CCM) to communicate with your employer about your enrollment status. The CCM can also allay any concerns your employer may have about your participation in the Program, including temporary removal from practice.

    NOTE: Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), persons with a history of a substance use disorder and who are currently in documented recovery have certain protections related to employment. Employers may consult with their Human Resources department for specific guidance.

  • How much does it cost to participate?
    The Program will cover initial costs for intake assessment and clinical diagnostic evaluation. You will be responsible for a $25 monthly co-pay to cover the Program’s administrative costs as well as any other costs related to direct treatment, random drug testing, psychiatric or medical evaluations, and nurse support group attendance. See Program Requirements for more detail about costs.
  • What financial assistance is available?
    Nurses in the Intervention Program may be eligible for financial assistance through various agencies (e.g. Covered California, Employment Development Department, etc.). You are encouraged to contact these organizations to determine eligibility for low cost health insurance (to cover treatment) or to determine short-term benefits to cover loss of wages. Additionally, the Clinical Case Manager (CCM), may be able to direct you to other resources for financial assistance or low-cost/no-cost services.
  • How long is the Program?
    Generally, the Program length is between three (3) to five (5) years. However, the actual length of time will depend on how well you respond to your individual recovery plan.

Returning to Nursing Practice

  • Will there be restrictions placed on my practice?

    Generally, yes. As part of a successful Return-to-Work Plan, the Program may determine you are fit for duty, but that certain job accommodations (aka practice restrictions) are necessary to ensure safe practice. For example, a nurse may not have access to controlled substances for an initial period of time. Continually, the Program will review and adjust your Return-to-Work Plan to remove restrictions as you continue to be successful in your Recovery. The Program’s objective is to return all nurses to safe practice.

    NOTE: Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), persons with a history of a substance use disorder and who are currently in documented recovery have certain protections related to employment (i.e. reasonable accommodations).

Employing an RN who is in the Program

  • Is it safe to hire or retain a nurse who is participating in BRN’s Intervention Program?

    BRN supports nurses’ return to safe nursing practice. Employers can contribute to this by choosing to hire or retain a nurse who is safely being monitored by BRN’s Intervention Program.

    Before an RN can return to work, the Program first determines if they are safe to do so. The Program considers several factors in its decision (e.g. history and severity of SUD diagnosis, treatment response, compliance with a recovery plan, random drug testing results, etc.).

    In some cases, a nurse’s Return-to-Work plan may include necessary job accommodations (aka practice restrictions), to ensure safe practice. This will depend on the work environment (e.g. job setting, supervision level, interaction with other professionals, job duties, access to drugs, level of support for the nurse, and ability for worksite monitoring).

    As an RN continues to be successful in their recovery, the Program will review and adjust their Return-to-Work Plan until they are able to perform all aspects of their duties without accommodations.

    NOTE: Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), persons with a history of a substance use disorder and who are currently in documented recovery have certain protections related to employment (i.e. reasonable accommodations). Employers may consult with their Human Resources department for specific guidance.

  • How can I verify an RN employee is enrolled in BRN’s Intervention Program?

    By law, Intervention Program staff must first have a participant’s written consent to communicate with their employer. An RN may submit to the Intervention Program a Consent to Release Information, which will allow a Clinical Case Manager (CCM) to communicate with their employer about their employee’s enrollment status, ability to return to work, and (if applicable) any worksite monitoring requirements.

    NOTE: As part of any successful Return-to-Work plan, the nurse will need to identify a worksite monitor (typically a direct clinical supervisor).

  • What is a worksite monitor’s role and responsibilities?

    The role of the worksite monitor (typically a nurse’s direct clinical supervisor) is critical to ensure a nurse’s success in returning to safe nursing practice. The Program and the worksite monitor maintain open communication in regard to the nurse’s progress.

    Management of a returning, recovering nurse is no different than that of any other employee. A worksite monitor will observe an employee’s progress at work and observe for any signs of relapse. The worksite monitor will submit to the Program periodic progress reports (which are similar to regular employee performance reviews).

  • How can an employer learn more about a substance use disorder and/or BRN’s Intervention Program?

    Employers who wish to learn more about substance use disorder and its prevalence in the nursing profession may access learning resources at BRN’s website. Additionally, employers may request a presentation by BRN Intervention Program staff. Staff will appear at your worksite to provide in-person education at no cost.

Miscellaneous