Glenwood Gardens' corporate owner is Brookdale Senior Living, Inc., based in Tennessee.
CNN asked spokesman Matt Fontana why a nurse would be involved if the facility's policy prohibits staffers from performing medical care.
"(Colleen) was hired to be the Resident Services Director and that is the capacity in which she was serving," Fontana explained in an e-mail.
"Glenwood Gardens is an independent living facility which, by law, is not licensed to provide medical care to any of its residents," Fontana told CNN.
"We are conducting an internal review to determine all of the facts about what occurred while waiting for the paramedics, who arrived moments later," he wrote. "We have communicated our deepest sympathies and condolences to this resident's family on the passing of their loved one."
Late Tuesday night, Brookdale released a statement that said it was conducting a company-wide review of its policies.
"This incident resulted from a complete misunderstanding of our practice with regards to emergency medical care for our residents," the statement said.
'Ethical north star'
"How could someone who is trained as a medical professional have their views so inverted by a corporate policy?" said Dr. Joseph Fins, chief of the division of medical ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College. "If this had happened on a city street in Manhattan, one would be governed by common morality."
The nurse at Glenwood is "confused about where their ethical north star is," he said.
Fins and other experts pointed to Good Samaritan laws that seek to protect well-intentioned helpers who try to save someone in danger.
But there have been challenges to California's Good Samaritan law.
In 2009, the state Supreme Court ruled on a case involving a woman who tried to pull a motorist from a wrecked car. The woman was accused of yanking the motorist like a "rag doll" and worsening the motorist's injuries. The court found that the woman was not covered under the state's Good Samaritan law, which had been in place since 1980.
The law provides that "no person who in good faith, and not for compensation, renders emergency care at the scene of an emergency shall be liable for any civil damages resulting from any act or omission."
And according to Caplan, Vermont's Good Samaritan law fines a person $100 if it's clear that they could have stepped in to perform CPR but refused.
The Bakersfield Police Department told CNN that they're investigating what happened at Glenwood Gardens.
Dr. Graham Nichol, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington, said he was shocked by what happened there.
CPR doubles survival odds, he said.
"If liability was a concern," Nichol said. "I would suspect there is a greater liability if someone dies."