California’s Board of Registered Nursing in Sacramento is hoping for a smoother licensing process now that an online application system is activated.
Russ Heimerich, an agency spokesman, said applicants who are preparing to graduate from nursing programs in May are starting to apply for testing dates, the first step for obtaining a license needed to start work.
The BreEZe portal on the nursing board’s site, www.rn.ca.gov, enables them to enter their information and pay their fees with a credit card, the spokesman said.
If all goes well, nursing school graduates in May and June should be able to obtain a license more quickly and start their first jobs. The nursing board was reporting a turnaround time of four to six weeks before the portal was activated.
“They can enter their information online as opposed to having someone from the board do it for them,” Heimerich said. “If they pay their fees with a card, it does not go through our cashiering process, which will save them several days.”
The Department of Consumer Affairs launched a technology upgrade in the fall for 10 of the state’s 37 licensing boards.
Problems with the system, called BreEZe, resulted in long, agonizing delays for thousands of nursing graduates in December. Some applicants waited more than three months for testing dates, and many were unable to accept job offers.
Other problems with lost transcripts, fingerprint processing and overwhelmed state workers were detailed at Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen’s town hall in Modesto early this month.
In May and June, an estimated 7,000 nursing students will graduate and seek licenses from the state. The early experience with the federal government’s www.healthcare.gov and California’s health insurance exchange did not instill much public confidence in government application portals, so we will have to wait and see.
Heimerich said the online system was tested with about 50 people, and the first group identified a few minor issues. Those were corrected.
After graduates receive a testing date and take the exam, they check back with BreEZe to see if their licenses are granted.
The Bee will be interested in hearing if the system is working for nursing graduates.
In the next two years, the Department of Consumer Affairs will implement BreEZe with an aim to improve licensing and enforcement functions for agencies such as the Dental Board, Pharmacy Board and Contractors State License Board.
The ultimate goal is stronger consumer protection for California residents.