The Texas Board of Nursing recently announced almost two dozen nurses in the state it believes are currently working with fraudulent nursing licenses. The public announcement comes shortly after media reports uncovered a nursing diploma scheme out of Florida.
What was this nursing diploma scheme?
The scheme allegedly involved the sale of nursing diplomas and transcripts. Officials claim Operation Nightingale, an effort by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) led to the execution of search warrants in five states throughout the country, including Texas. This resulted in the arrest and criminal charges against twenty-five individuals for providing fraudulent nursing diplomas.
The government claims to have gathered further evidence to show that over 7,000 individuals received these fraudulent degrees from fake Florida-based schools. Of these individuals, at least 2,800 passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and went on to find nursing jobs.
What does this mean for those who currently have jobs as nurses in Texas?
Those who have received a nursing degree know the rigor and demands that come with this line of study. To skip that requirement could mean patients do not receive the quality of care needed from a nurse. This scheme could result in increased scrutiny not just of those who report a degree from one of these fraudulent Florida-based schools, but of all nurses in the state.
What should I do if I am under scrutiny by the Texas Board of Nursing?
The state nursing board has the authority to pursue disciplinary action including fines, limitations on aspects of your practice, suspension, and even the revocation of your nursing license.
If you are the subject of scrutiny by the Texas Board of Nursing, do not take the matter lightly. You have rights and are allowed legal representation throughout the process. You worked hard for your degree. Do not let an overzealous board threaten your profession.
Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication