Nigerian nurses among 75 nurses charged to court by the Texas Board of Nursing in the United States over falsification of certificates.
On the list posted on the board’s website, 43 of the names were identified as nurses of Nigerian origin. This revelation has caused concern among Nigerians and other stakeholders in the healthcare industry, who are eager to know more about the circumstances surrounding this issue.
According to information on the board’s website about the probe tagged ‘Operation Nightingale’, the individuals who acquired the fraudulent nursing credentials used them to qualify to sit for the national nursing board exam. Upon successful completion of the board exam, these nursing applicants reportedly became eligible to obtain licensure in various states to work as a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse (LPN/VN).
The US authorities have hinted that the list would be updated continuously as the board receives additional information about “the fraudulent diploma/transcript scheme.” This scheme is reportedly a coordinated effort to sell false and fraudulent nursing degree diplomas and transcripts obtained from accredited Florida-based nursing schools to Registered Nurse (RN) and Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse (LPN/VN) candidates.
The investigation tagged ‘Operation Nightingale’ is described as a multi-state coordinated law enforcement action involving the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. Launched on January 25, 2023, this operation is aimed at apprehending individuals engaged in this fraudulent scheme.
The Texas Board of Nursing has filed formal charges against the nurses who fraudulently obtained educational credentials. The board is authorized to file formal charges against a nurse if probable cause exists that the nurse has committed an act listed in Tex. Occ. Code §301.452(b) or that violates other laws. Formal charges are publicly available, and it is important to note that they are not a final disciplinary action. A nurse is permitted to work as a nurse while formal charges are pending.
The board has also disclosed that it is working diligently with all appropriate nursing regulatory bodies, nursing education program providers, accreditation bodies, and authorities to detect, investigate, and resolve these matters as quickly as possible. This includes seeking revocation of any licensure obtained through fraudulent means.
The nursing profession is critical to the health and well-being of individuals and communities. Therefore, it is imperative that the integrity of the profession is maintained through rigorous standards and ethical practices. The actions of the Texas Board of Nursing demonstrate its commitment to upholding these standards and protecting the public from fraudulent and unqualified healthcare practitioners.