Registered Nurse Licensure
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In California, the practice of nursing is regulated by the California Business & Professions Code. The Board of Registered Nursing is the board responsible for granting Registered Nurse licenses and the oversight of nursing practice and education in California.
Registered nurses have scopes of practice established by regulation and legislation. The BRN, through the California Department of Consumer Affairs, publishes the California Nursing Practice Act. This document describes the governance of the practice of registered nursing and are part of the California Business and Professions Code.
In California only an individual licensed as a registered nurse or vocational (practical) nurse can legally use the title "nurse." The usual path to licensure is through enrollment in an accredited school and completion of its prescribed curriculum. After successful completion of such a program, the student is eligible to apply to the BRN for licensure by examination. The nursing curriculum is approved by the BRN.
The BRN may deny an individual's application for a licensure to practice. Denial of licensure may occur because of prior conviction of a crime, acts of dishonesty, fraud or deceit. Further information about convictions and licensure is available from the Associate Dean of Allied Health (818) 551-5270
The licensing examinations are administered nationally by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCLEX-RN). Since 1994, licensure examinations have been computerized and taken at computerized testing centers. The California licensing examination may actually be taken in any state once the California board has given permission to the graduate to take the test. Licenses must be renewed in California every two years.
Graduates who are licensed in one state may generally apply for licensure in other states by "endorsement." This process allows the licensed nurse to move from one state to another without retaking the licensing examination. In some states evidence of continuing education in nursing must be shown for licensure to be maintained or granted by endorsement.