'No shortcuts in nursing': State boards probe nurses tied to phony degree scheme

State nursing boards are investigating individuals who allegedly purchased fraudulent nursing school degrees and diplomas as part of a widespread coordinated scheme, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing told Becker's Jan. 26. 

The Justice Department has charged 25 people for their alleged participation in the sale of more than 7,600 fraudulent diplomas and transcripts from three now-shuttered nursing schools in Florida. Aspiring nurses allegedly used the fake paperwork to fast-track the process for them to take the National Council Licensure Examination, even if they had not completed the necessary coursework to graduate or qualify for the test, the Justice Department said. In some cases, aspiring nurses avoided hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of clinical training, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe told ABC News.

Investigations into these individuals — some of whom passed the NCLEX and have been practicing in the U.S. — are ongoing. NCSBN said it has worked closely with state and federal authorities to identify and monitor individuals who allegedly purchased the fake nursing degrees.

"Nursing regulatory bodies in affected states have been investigating individual cases and are taking appropriate action, in accordance with their state laws and due process, that includes loss of license," the nursing board said. "NCSBN will continue working with all appropriate nursing regulatory bodies, nursing education program providers, accreditation bodies and authorities to detect, investigate and resolve these matters today and into the future."

In a Jan. 26 statement, American Nurses Association President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, RN, called the scheme "deplorable" and "extremely unsettling."

"Nursing is without a doubt a highly specialized and ethical profession requiring rigorous and life-long education and training to acquire unmatched clinical expertise. You don't achieve this overnight," Dr. Mensik Kennedy said. "There are no shortcuts in nursing — our patients and clients depend on us."

Dr. Mensik Kennedy also called out leaders at the once-accredited nursing schools who allegedly participated in the scheme, saying their actions undermine "everything the nursing profession represents" and tarnish "the reputation of actual nurses everywhere who have rightfully earned the title of the 'most trusted and ethical professionals.'" 

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars