Intervention Frequently Asked Questions
- Is This Program Right for Me?
- What About Working?
- Cost and Time of Program?
- Intervention Evaluation Committee?
- Program Contractor?
- Does a court ordered intervention program take the place of the BRN's Intervention Program?
A court ordered intervention program does not take the place of the BRN's Intervention Program.
- Do I have to enter the BRN's Intervention Program if I plan to obtain treatment on my own?
The Intervention Program is voluntary. We recognize that there are many great treatment programs available. However, they do not take the place of the BRN's Intervention Program. If you accept our program, an Intervention Evaluation Committee (IEC) will want to know about any programs you have entered or completed, so they can determine what other elements to include in a treatment plan they develop for you. For example, if you have completed an in-patient treatment program, the committee may mandate completion of an aftercare program in addition to 12 step meetings, nurse support group meetings, etc. If you are currently in a treatment program, we recommend that you continue to participate in that program.
- If I was successful in completing the BRN's Intervention Program previously, am I still eligible to participate in the program again?
Yes, RNs who have successfully completed the BRN's Intervention Program are eligible to participate in the program again. An IEC will, however, determine if you are accepted into the program.
- I am licensed in another state and participate in their Intervention Program. I am thinking about transferring to California. Can I automatically transfer to California's Intervention Program while I am in the process of obtaining a California license?
Nurses who are participating in another State's Intervention Program and not yet licensed in California are not eligible to participate in California's Intervention Program. By law, an RN must be licensed and residing in California in order to be eligible to participate. Once a California license is obtained, however, we can communicate with the state you are from (with the written permission of the nurse) and inform that state about your progress in California's program. Please check with your state to make sure you can transfer to another state and still be in compliance with their program.
NOTE: There is nothing on California's application which would require you to disclose that you are in another state's intervention program as long as your participation in that program is not considered discipline.
- I am an LVN. Can I Participate in the BRN's Intervention Program?
By law, only Registered Nurses are eligible to participate in the BRN's Intervention Program. However, LVNs may want to attend nurse support group meetings if they are experiencing a problem with substance use disorder or mental illness. Please refer to the nurse support group listing on this website for information on where those groups meet and how to contact the facilitator.
- I have had one DUI, is this program for me?
The Intervention Program is a program designed to help those who have a substance use disorder (SUD). While it is true not every person who gets a DUI is an alcoholic or drug addict, a DUI can be an indicator of a problem. Other indicators include a pattern of use that negatively impacts a person’s relationships, health, or professional life. You could benefit by learning more about substance use disorder.
- I only diverted one time, is this program for me?
The Intervention Program is voluntary and we cannot mandate that anyone enter the program. The Intervention Program is not a place to avoid discipline for a one-time error, but it is a place to receive help from substance use disorder (SUD). An indicator of SUD is a pattern of use that negatively impacts a person’s relationships or health. Additionally, there may be negative consequences legally or professionally. You could benefit by learning more about substance use disorder.
- How do I know if I am eligible to participate in the Intervention Program?
The BRN will always check your eligibility prior to your entry into the Program. Please refer to What is the Intervention Program? for additional eligibility information.
- Will I need to stop working if I decide to enter the Intervention Program?
Yes. When you are first entering the Program, you must stop practicing until either a clinical assessment or an IEC determines that you are safe to practice. This can be done only after enough information has been obtained to make that determination.
- How long will I be off work if I decide to enter the Intervention Program?
The length of time an RN will be off work is very individualized. IECs make the determination on a case-by-case basis. This is a way of providing for immediate intervention and ensuring that the goal of public protection is being achieved. This is also a time for you to focus on recovery, which will greatly assist you in returning to work safely. In addition, the return to work will be a gradual progression. When you are allowed to return to work, there will be restrictions to your practice. Those restrictions may include, but are not limited to, non-patient care, no nights, no access to drugs, no home health, not to be the only RN on duty, and a limit on the number of hours you may work. As you progress in recovery, the restrictions are lifted until by the end of the program, there are no restrictions to your practice. You must also have a work site monitor in place prior to returning to work. This monitor must be someone in a supervisory capacity who will be able to assess how you are doing when you return to work and prepare quarterly reports for the IEC.
- How will my employer be notified that I am participating in the Intervention Program?
Due to the confidentiality of the Intervention Program, neither the BRN nor the Intervention Program Contractor can legally notify employers that RNs are participating in the program. It will be up to you to notify your employer that you are participating in the Intervention Program and that you are required to stop practicing until it is determined that you are safe to practice. Once you are accepted into the program, you may sign a release form authorizing your case manager to communicate with your employer.
- How will I be able to survive financially if I cannot work?
Please know that many nurses who have entered the Intervention Program have experienced financial hardships. Some have been able to get assistance by obtaining disability during this time. Financial counseling is also available through our Contractor. In addition, nurses who enter the Program will be referred to nurse support groups. At these meetings, you will be able to network with other nurses to discuss ways in which you may be able to cope with financial difficulties. You may also be able to obtain work outside of nursing (although, many nurses have found that they need to take this time off to focus on their recovery.) Also, many nurses face the possibility of losing their license if they do not enter this program and that would be more of a financial hardship in the long run. Keep in mind that we believe that substance use disorder is a disease, which if left untreated could be fatal. Who will provide for your family then?
- Will anyone be able to determine that I am participating in the Intervention Program if they contact the BRN?
By law, the Intervention Program is confidential. Anyone contacting the BRN will not be able to determine if an RN is participating in the program. In addition, they will not be able to determine if an RN was successful or unsuccessful in the program.
- Will my name appear in the BRN Newsletter if I enter the Intervention Program?
No. The Intervention Program is an alternative to disciplinary action. The BRN only publishes the names of those nurses whose licenses have been disciplined by the Board. Many of those nurses were not eligible for the program, did not choose to enter the program, or were unsuccessful in completing the program and their licenses were subsequently disciplined.
- How much does it cost to participate in the BRN's Intervention Program?
Nurses in the Intervention Program pay $25.00 per month to help defray the cost of the Program. This fee begins when the RN is accepted into the Program by an Intervention Evaluation Committee and is collected by the Intervention Program Contractor. In addition, participants must pay for any costs related to their rehabilitation plan determined such as, drug testing, treatment, psychiatric or medical evaluations, and nurse support group attendance.
- How long will I be in the Intervention Program?
The average length of time is 3 to 5 years for RNs to successfully complete the program.
- Does the BRN offer financial assistance for participants in the Intervention program?
The BRN is not able to offer financial assistance for participants however, nurses in the Intervention program may be eligible for financial assistance from other agencies. Please refer to the Covered California and the Employment Development Department websites as a resource for potential eligibility.
- What is an Intervention Evaluation Committee?
Pursuant to statute, the BRN has the authority to establish Intervention Evaluation Committees (IECs). Each committee is composed of three registered nurses, one physician and one public member who are all appointed by the Board for their expertise in substance use disorders and/or mental illness. There are currently 14 IECs throughout the state. The IECs are responsible for recommending which applicants will be admitted to the program, establishing rehabilitation contracts for participants, monitoring participants' compliance and determining when participants will be successfully completed or terminated unsuccessfully from the program. IEC decisions are final.
- Where will I have to go to attend Intervention Evaluation Committee meetings?
There are 14 IECs throughout California. When you enter the program, you will be assigned to a committee that is as geographically close as possible to the city in which you reside. The IECs will decide how frequently you will meet with them. For example, after your initial meeting with this committee, they may schedule you to be seen in three months, six months, nine months or one year. In between IEC meetings you are fulfilling the requirements of your rehabilitation plan within your community if possible. Any self-help or nurse support group meetings that an IEC requires you to attend will usually be geographically close to the community in which you reside.
- What do you mean by the Intervention Program Contractor?
The Board of Registered Nursing has the authority to contract out for the implementation of the Intervention Program. The Board of Registered Nursing, however, has administrative oversight of the Program. The current contractor is MAXIMUS.
- Who should I call to enter the Intervention Program?
The BRN contracts out with a private entity to monitor RNs in the program. The current contractor is MAXIMUS. Please call MAXIMUS at 1-800-522-9198 if you are interested in participating in this program.
- Am I required to report a nurse whom I suspect is diverting drugs or using drugs?
To ensure safe quality nursing care, it is critical to immediately address nurses suspected of diverting drugs or using drugs. While filing a complaint with the BRN is not mandated by law, health professionals do have an ethical responsibility. The American Nurses Association (ANA) addresses the topic of impaired practice in its Code of Ethics for Nurses, which states – in part – that nurses must be vigilant to protect the patient, the public, and the profession from potential harm when a colleague’s practice, in any setting, appears to be impaired. In a situation where a nurse suspects another’s practice may impaired, the nurse’s duty is to take action. Complaints may be filed online or by mail/fax. Click here to learn more about the complaint process.
- Am I treated differently if I refer myself to the program versus waiting for a complaint to be filed?
Nurses enter the program in two ways: Self-referrals (the BRN does not have a complaint on file and the nurse is referring themselves to the program), and Board-referrals (the BRN has received a complaint and the nurse has been offered the opportunity to participate in the program). Once in the program, either type of referral is treated according to their recovery needs, not because of how they were referred to the program.
- Can I withdraw from the Intervention Program at any time?
Since the Intervention Program is a voluntary program, an RN may withdraw from the program at any time. However, an IEC will determine your status at the time of withdrawal. For example, if you have been non-compliant and want to withdraw from the program, you may be terminated as non-compliant and will not be eligible to return to the Program. Additionally, if you are a board-referral, the BRN may take disciplinary action for acts committed before participation in the Intervention Program.