3 recent updates in the nurse degree scheme

Erica Carbajal – 22 hours ago

There have been no reports so far of a patient being harmed by an unqualified nurse involved in Operation Nightingale — a coordinated scheme to sell more than 7,600 fake diplomas and transcripts to aspiring nurses, enabling them to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination without completing the necessary coursework.

Officials involved with the investigation told The Washington Post there have been no reports so far of patients harm associated with the sham. About 37 percent of individuals who bought fake documents passed the NCLEX exam and presumably went on to secure employment at healthcare facilities.

“There’s a lot of safeguards in the program,” Fernando Porras, assistant special agent in charge with the Miami office of the HHS’ Office of Inspector General, told the news outlet, adding that there is a probationary period for any indication that someone is unqualified.

“Once [healthcare facilities] see the nurse can’t perform a simple medical task, they’re kind of let go.”

Two more updates:

  1. Five defendants charged in the Southern District of Florida — who worked for the now shuttered Palm Beach School of Nursing in West Palm Beach, Fla. — have pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy over their alleged involvement in the scheme. They will be sentenced by a district judge in federal court July 27 and each face up to 20 years in federal prison.
  2. Many nurses who attended the schools maintain they are innocent, saying they attended classes, completed required coursework and did not pay for a degree. An attorney for three nurses who say they are wrongly accused told Becker’s that his clients who rightfully earned their degrees were “lumped in with people who bought their transcripts,” and that the schools provided the names of everyone who attended during the period of time that is being investigated.