Nurses sue New York to get their licenses back

New York state is being sued by 4 nurses and criticized by 50 more who received their license through a Florida school that has been accused of selling degrees, the Times Union reported Feb. 14.

Last year, the state asked 900 nurses to voluntarily surrender their nursing licenses because they graduated from one of the schools accused of selling fake degrees. The scheme involved selling more than 7,600 fraudulent diplomas and transcripts from three now-shuttered nursing schools in Florida to aspiring nurses. About 37 percent of individuals who bought fake documents passed the NCLEX exam and presumably went on to secure employment at healthcare facilities.

Four nurses have sued New York to regain the licenses they voluntarily surrendered and another 50 refuse to give up their licenses and continue to work. They are part of hundreds of nurses who have asserted their innocence in the national degree scheme and are still fighting to win back their licenses. 

The 54 nurses all passed the NCLEX and have worked in the state for three years without any complaints, their attorney Jesse Baldwin told the Times Union. Some have submitted proof of attending classes and completing clinical hours.

Mr. Baldwin filed two lawsuits, representing the four nurses who want their licenses back, on Jan. 31 and Feb. 8 in the state Supreme Court. 

The state meanwhile has asked for more information from the remaining 50 who have not given up their licenses.

"Anyone found not to possess proper education and training may face disciplinary action or rescission proceedings, which are confidential until completed," New York State Health Department spokesperson J.P. O'Hare told the Times Union. Information and credentials are currently being reviewed.

In January 2023, 25 people were charged in connection with their alleged participation in running the scheme. Since then, a total of 20 defendants have been convicted or have pleaded guilty and three defendants will face a jury trial in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for their role.

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