The State Worker

California lawmaker pulls back inquiry into nurse licensing delays

A Modesto lawmaker has pulled back her call for an audit of a 6-month-old California state computer system that has slowed down the process for licensing nursing school graduates since going online last fall.

Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, withdrew the audit request she made last month in favor of an April 3 hearing in her district with Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced. Gray chairs the Joint Legislative Audit Committee that would have commissioned an audit of the Department of Consumer Affairs’ BreEZe system.

Olsen’s office cast the move as a tactical decision that would still hold Consumer Affairs accountable without an independent audit that would take months.

“At this time, it is essential the DCA be given every opportunity to tell us what we can do to help them eliminate the backlog of unprocessed testing and licensing applications as soon as possible,” Olsen said in a press release, “An audit would not give us answers until the end of the year.”

Consumer Affairs is rolling out the system to automate business and professional licensing and license renewals for more than three dozen boards, bureaus and committees it oversees, including the Board of Registered Nursing. But nursing school graduates, schools and hospitals have complained that since BrEZe went live the process is slower than ever for registered nurse licensing. Some grads have said the delay cost them entry-level hospital jobs.

After Olsen publicly called for an audit, a spokesman said the system bogged down because state employees’ hadn’t adapted to it.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee