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Hunting down the California BRN

Nurses Nursing Article   posted

Specializes in Med-surge, Ambulatory.

While I am happy that I now have a California license, it is simply not enough for me to keep the information to myself. I hope that this information helps someone.

Hunting down the California BRN
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Being the wife of an active duty navy sailor, I was accustomed to moving every three to four years and setting up a new life to include securing a new state license and a new nursing position. Moving with three young children always took some skill but I took pleasure in knowing that I would be able to find another job without much interruption. From Virginia to Florida to Tennessee I had no problems getting my nursing license and in some instances, being hired for a position before permanently making a move. The latest move, however, had me doubting myself.

The great state of California was my next destination and I figured it would be just as easy to obtain a nursing there. After doing my research and realizing that it would probably be easier to do my fingerprints when I got to California, I decided to wait until my family and I moved to California (San Diego) to complete the application. A month before, we moved to California, I ordered my transcript (all 5 of them) to be sent to the California BRN. I completed the application and fingerprinting process within one day of moving to San Diego. I thought let me be patient and waited four weeks before calling the BRN. I was not able to get anyone on the phone. There were times that I began calling at 0745AM and the recording would say that it was outside of working hours, twenty calls later right around 0816 the recording would switch over and said that all agents were busy.

To say the least I was frustrated! Every day I checked the Breeze website which stated that my application was in process but gave no further information, and I called but neither area presented me with any other information and no one answered their phone. It was ridiculous! On January 2, 2017, my family and I (husband, 11-year-old, 7-year-old and 1 year old) drove the 9 hours to Sacramento to go to the BRN in person. I had read all the stories of getting better help in person and decided to put the BRN to the test as it was now heading to 4 months and I had gotten anywhere.

I showed up at the BRN 0750. I waited and at 0800, I entered the lobby. The first thing I noticed was the two women taking down Christmas decorations. (Of course, my thoughts were its 0800 my colleagues are calling and you could be answering the phones but you are occupying your time with Christmas decor) I smiled and did the pleasantries. The front desk clerk took my information then asked if I had a marriage certificate. I gave it to her and asked if that was the reason I did not have a license, but she did not confirm. (I previously sent the marriage certificate three times to the BRN)

The person that helped me identified themselves was the manager and supervisor of the department. He stated that he was missing one of my transcripts showing my nursing degree. I stated that I had a copy of each transcript and handed it over to him. He took the transcript and stopped short. He said that he was unable to take my transcript because although it was sealed it had a post date of longer than six months. I became emotional.

I started crying and explained that there was no information on the website that stated this and no one answered the phone to find out any information. I explained that I had brought my family in the rain all night to get here expecting to get a license and I was frustrated. He stated that he understood but that many were coming from all over the country however the rules are the rules. I could not stop crying and could not believe what was happening. I asked what could I do to help other nurses and to ensure that this does not happen to others.

Silently, I prayed that something could be done so that I could get my license that moment. The manager, God and everything else aligned and he stated that he would help and take the transcript this one time. He handed me a confirmation of my license and then sat down and spoke with me. He mentioned that we need to tell our senators and representatives that the office needs more employees, in the past there have been thirteen employees, currently the BRN has four employees to handle the licensure process. There is no supervisor so the manager, does the supervisor and manager job. It is just simply too much work for the employees and they are the only ones in the entire state of California that handle the licensure process.

These were the things I learned and it was then that I knew I had to make my first post on all nurses. I have been a member for 8 years but never penned a post. I read many blogs and posts that helped me and I knew it was time to give back.

Here are the things I learned during this journey that is often not mentioned on the website:

  1. If possible, do fingerprints in California the results will come back faster
  2. You can turn in your application online but you must upload a passport picture (up close head and neck shot)
  3. California now accepts electronic transcripts so if your school has that option, use it
  4. You do not have to request transcripts with the provided cover sheet, they take them without it
  5. If mailing your application, you can send transcripts with your application if all are sealed separately from the application
  6. If you can afford to go to California to apply for the license in person, then take that opportunity as it is a faster process
  7. If you are going to California, bring all your transcripts and be sure to order new ones within 6 months of your visit
  8. If you are a military spouse, turn in your spouse's orders along with a copy of your marriage certificate
  9. If you had a different name while you were in nursing school, please include a copy of your marriage certificate in your package with the change
  10. If you live in California or planning to move here, contact your local representatives and senators and tell them that the BRN needs more employees and help

While I am happy that I now have a California license, it is simply not enough for me to keep the information to myself. I hope that this information helps someone.

I am a Registered Nurse with experience in ambulatory care, women's health and medsurge. I recently completed my MSN and always campaigning for what is right.

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Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

Crying is great, isn't it? I even managed to get out of jail once by crying.

Crying is great, isn't it? I even managed to get out of jail once by crying.

I managed to get a car dealership to take a new car back that I'd taken delivery of and had for the weekend. :blink:

xoemmylouox, ASN, RN

Has 13 years experience.

Thank you for this article. My hubby and I have a 10 year plan to move to Cali, so who knows what will change by then, but surely this will help someone.

benjaeli, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med-surge, Ambulatory.

Im glad that we both got victory with crying as who knows what our alternative would be? LOL

I'm a California nurse so my experience is much more minor but since email wasn't mentioned I will share my experience.

I just went through a bit of an ordeal with the renewal process, much of it my fault for not paying attention after hitting submit and then trying to resolve during the holidays (not recommended!)

I wasn't able to get through by phone and while I wanted instant answers and resolution, which I did not get, I did get a response to my emails each time within 48 hrs. Getting through by phone seems to be an impossibility but email was reasonable.

My renewal was completely processed 2 weeks from realizing there was a problem to resolution and email was the only successful way to communicate.

Welcome to California and best to you!

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

Im glad that we both got victory with crying as who knows what our alternative would be? LOL

I actually think getting sympathy from the CA BON is a bigger accomplishment!!

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

Thank you for this article. My hubby and I have a 10 year plan to move to Cali, so who knows what will change by then, but surely this will help someone.

You might want to start the endorsement process now.

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

I'm a California nurse so my experience is much more minor but since email wasn't mentioned I will share my experience.

I just went through a bit of an ordeal with the renewal process, much of it my fault for not paying attention after hitting submit and then trying to resolve during the holidays (not recommended!)

I wasn't able to get through by phone and while I wanted instant answers and resolution, which I did not get, I did get a response to my emails each time within 48 hrs. Getting through by phone seems to be an impossibility but email was reasonable.

My renewal was completely processed 2 weeks from realizing there was a problem to resolution and email was the only successful way to communicate.

Welcome to California and best to you!

Renewals are much smoother, thank goodness. I couldn't go through the initial frustration on a regular basis.

Libby1987 said:
I'm a California nurse so my experience is much more minor but since email wasn't mentioned I will share my experience.

I just went through a bit of an ordeal with the renewal process, much of it my fault for not paying attention after hitting submit and then trying to resolve during the holidays (not recommended!)

I wasn't able to get through by phone and while I wanted instant answers and resolution, which I did not get, I did get a response to my emails each time within 48 hrs. Getting through by phone seems to be an impossibility but email was reasonable.

My renewal was completely processed 2 weeks from realizing there was a problem to resolution and email was the only successful way to communicate.

Welcome to California and best to you!

This is good to know.

OP is not the first person who has had trouble with California. Next to impossible to get through by phone, finally getting through but having to get a supervisor to resolve the matter. (so my former colleague stated as her experience). Time to deal with religious matters on State time in a government building seems wrong - perhaps a good reason to not allow religious displays of any kind in said buildings/on gov grounds.

And why would her previous license from another state not be sufficient? It sounds like she should not have had to send transcripts, husband's orders, marriage cert. Are all states requiring such extensive documentation for getting a license if one has a license from a US state already?

Oh, I guess the marriage cert was because she went to school in a different name. OK, that's reasonable.

And how did the people working there manage to lose her marriage cert 3 times???? And her transcripts??? And how many

total people work in that office? What do they do besides licensure?

benjaeli, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med-surge, Ambulatory.

Libby1987 I am happy that you got a response by email. I did use the email route but have never gotten a response maybe because I was never licensed in California? Who knows....California BRN is a crap shoot. No real rhyme or reason to why they do certain things, I suppose with such little amount of employees, they randomly do things differently. I also faxed in a note to them and no response there either. Its such a shame too as I have to renew once again next year March. I received this license 9 months after renewing my FL one and yet it will expire before my FL one. Do all California licenses expire in one year? I am slowing learning the rules and ways.

foggnm

Has 8 years experience.

Obtaining my license in CA was very easy, took about a month (license by endorsement from another state). But generally I think you should plan on it taking 1 to 2 months for getting licensed in another state.

Boomer MS, RN

Specializes in Med Surg/ICU/Psych/Emergency/CEN/retired. Has 17 years experience.

benjaeli said:
Libby1987 I am happy that you got a response by email. I did use the email route but have never gotten a response maybe because I was never licensed in California? Who knows....California BRN is a crap shoot. No real rhyme or reason to why they do certain things, I suppose with such little amount of employees, they randomly do things differently. I also faxed in a note to them and no response there either. Its such a shame too as I have to renew once again next year March. I received this license 9 months after renewing my FL one and yet it will expire before my FL one. Do all California licenses expire in one year? I am slowing learning the rules and ways.

CA RN licenses need to be renewed every two years. The number of CEUs required for renewal is 30. I've had a CA license for 45 years and have never been audited, but have always kept paper copies of my CEUs much longer than advised, just in case. I have heard horror stories of difficulty communicating with the CA BRN, the problem being major cutbacks of staff. Good luck.

benjaeli, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med-surge, Ambulatory.

foggnm! You may be the first! I am elated for you! Congrats!

thank you for this post, if only for someone to share my frustration. i'm on month 4 with no luck yet..

I am assuming that you are either a foreign educated nurse or you are not a natural US citizen. If that assumption is correct, then six months sounds about right.

NICU Guy, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. Has 5 years experience.

Welcome to California BON. Meet Mable, our license endorsement specialist. She is available to assist you by e-mail only Tue-Thur from 12-3pm (unavailable from 1-2 for her nap).

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WOW only 4 employees processing the whole state! Just wow... Thank you for sharing I guess I will have more sympathy for them. Ive been waiting two months. I have a contingent job offer and need my Lic by Mid March may take a drive down there. Only 4 hours away. Emailing my senator now.

Thank you so much for sharing! I've been waiting for my ATT for 3 months now and have been unsuccessful with calling the BRN (people have either told me to wait 2-3 weeks and call again or one person said everything was in but didn't know why they didn't process my application... grrr). I was at my wits end and was about to fly up to Sac from LA until I saw your post. I got an email response within 48 hours and it turns out that *somehow* they got my fingerprints and my check but not my actual application (how? I have no idea). I sent another one in via email and the guy processed my application on the spot! Thanks again for sharing, I never would have thought to email if you hadn't posted!

I also had a very difficult time getting endorsed by the Cali BRN. My original nursing program was in Canada in '94. I am a US citizen and have been practicing in TX since '98 and went on to become An APN and got my DNP. I made a mistake of applying for endorsement after accepting a big position. I negotiated my start date for 5 months after I applied for endorsement and still managed to miss my target. I read all the blogs so got my fingerprints done via live scan to avoid that potential failure. Ordered my 5 transcripts and dogged both the Canadian school (who informed me they did not retain syllabi from my cohort !!) And my MSN program. I got duplicates of everything sent to me as back up answered deficiencies same day received. Specifically they asked for 1. a copy of my SSN card (did not see that in the original application directions but uploaded directly into the submit additional documents link) and 2. copy of foreign license even though I haven't been licensed in Canada in 15 years and sent a copy of my diploma as the either or statement directed 3. verification of MSN from the program chair 4. transcript from MSN program sent specifically to the APN division even though I had already been sent to the BRN address already. I waited the 12 weeks until my date was in the processing window. I called and reached them 3x after avg call/ hang up/ call x 30 attempts to be able to reach the hold queue and waited an hour at least each time. Here are the key things I've learned: 1. If there's an issue or question that needs to be answered the person on the phone sends a message to your analyst. The analysts give themselves 1 month to respond to messages. 2. Even when you submit additional documentation through the breeze system there's no quaruntee that the analyst will find the uploads. They held up my RN endorsement because even though the person on the phone could find the copy of the card I sent through the Breeze system, the analyst apparently couldn't figure it out 3. They give thenselves 1 month to process snail mail!! 4. Even if you submit your transcript multiple times ie 2x by mail and once electronically there's no guarantee they'll find it- not kidding! 4x was the fix 5. Per one of the people I spoke to on the phone there is a paper file for applicants too that the person in the phone can't see so that can't actually guarantee receipt or not when there's a deficiency. 6. They NEVER answer emails sent to the generic brn address. So happy end of story both of my licenses are now endorsed but I can't reclaim the countless sleepless nights and full blown panic attacks I've experienced unnecessarily from this. I truly hope they do serious quality improvement work on their processes as the current state is completely unacceptable by any standard! I can't imagine what it must be like to work there- can't be fun given their systems don't work. I'm no stranger to bureaucratic processes and generally have quite a bit of patience. I've been through immigration 2x- I went through as landed immigrant in Canada and my then husband going through US and that was a piece of cake in comparison!!

Edited by TexasRN1998
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