By Okon Ekpenyong
An investigation is underway in Florida by the federal authorities concerning several individuals associated with the illegal establishment of fake nursing schools without obtaining the necessary accreditation from the State. They provided phony nursing degrees and diplomas to students across multiple states. The investigation is currently ongoing.
A total of 25 people across several states are now facing federal charges, and more arrests will come after 7600 students received fake degrees from three nursing schools in South Florida.
Siena College, Palm Beach School of Nursing, and Sacred Heart International Institute were the three institutions at the center of the scandal; they have since closed their doors.
The scheme will significantly impact people who have obtained or are seeking to obtain their registration as registered nurses and licensed practical/vocational nurses. Depending on the case’s circumstances, some defendants could get up to 20 years in prison. Federal officials have said that some people may lose their licenses or certifications but not face criminal charges.
“This is serious, especially when it affects health and human lives,” said Deba Uwadiae, the New Americans Magazine publisher.
An article published by New American Economy on April 9, 2020, titled “Immigrant Healthcare Workers Are Critical in the Fight Against Covid-19”, reported that 597,426 immigrants were working in the healthcare field in the United States, more than Nursing Aides who had 578,270 workers in the sector. Moreover, 69% of immigrant healthcare workers speak more than one language, which is becoming increasingly important since it allows them to reach out to communities where English is not their first language.
There is a great deal of significance in gathering this data because most of those 7600 students were most likely immigrants, and healthcare is a gateway for foreign-born individuals to establish themselves abroad.
“The students probably didn’t know these schools were fake. People will not knowingly pay for schools that don’t have the proper accreditation. For example, no one knew they were defrauding students in schools like Devry and ITT Tech. However, the federal government eliminated the student loans that students who went to the school had when they found out,” an Administrator at AFRICAN BOUND USA said.
Nursing School is a challenge; if someone tells you otherwise, they are full of it. My friends and family members currently in nursing school or have previously attended studied their tails off to graduate. Although they started as Nursing Assistants, Trained Medication Aides, and Personal Care Assistants and enrolled in the school with some training knowledge, they still found it challenging.”
According to the National League for Nursing, approximately 20% of nursing students drop out of nursing programs each year. However, many have found different avenues, but was it the proper accreditation?
“Around $114 million was paid for these documents,” US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe said.
A recent graduate of Rasmussen College of Nursing, weighs in on the scandal:
Depending on the school policy, sometimes a student must wait a whole year if they fail Nursing School. They must wait an entire calendar year if they fail two nursing courses. You are then required to take the T-exam before taking the Entrance Exam. The school then has to re-evaluate your past classes to ensure you are up to speed with the current materials, and that’s not a guarantee that they will let you re-enroll or return to the school.
If the school ever catches you cheating, it will show up in the registry, and you might have issues getting accepted into any school in the country. Some students quit their jobs to focus solely on nursing school and practice for the National Nursing exam.
“The individuals behind this scheme failed to gain the correct accreditation from the State when establishing the schools,” she said.
African Bound USA is a young professional African group dedicated to creating networking opportunities while encouraging the growth of its members. Its members also weigh in on this scandal.
“And this is why accreditation is so important when picking your school of choice and employers verify your degree. The cheap route always ends up paying for it later”, a member said.
“Some participants said the traditional nursing school route is too long when they can go to Florida online school and finish in a year. I know like four people in this mess presently”, a member of Africanbond USA said.
“As someone who has endured nursing school and struggled through exams and got anxious while preparing to sit for my NCLEX, I know how difficult it can be, and I studied intensively for three months,” another member of African Bound USA said.
In our conversation with a variety of current and former nursing students, they all agreed that, yes, nursing school is challenging. However, given that you are dealing with human lives, getting your degree from an accredited school is very important because, in an unfortunate situation like this, you may lose your license, which you have worked very hard for and earned.
Support the New Americans magazine to continue to serve our community with precise news that affect the new American, immigrant and refugee community. https://paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=8LHFS78NRNJJY&source=url
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.