On January 25th, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the discovery of a scheme (nicknamed “Operation Nightingale”) that allowed aspiring nurses to buy fraudulent nursing degree diplomas and transcripts from three Florida-based schools that allowed them to sit for the national nursing board examination and, in some cases, obtain state licenses.
More than 7,600 counterfeit diplomas were issued to aspiring registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs) by Siena College and Sacred Heart International Institute in Broward County, Florida, as well as the Palm Beach School of Nursing in Palm Beach County, Florida, between 2016 and 2021. All three schools are now closed.
While the total number of licensees has not been made public, individuals identified by the federal investigation as possibly having illegitimate educational credentials have been flagged in the National Council of State Boards of Nursing nationwide data system for monitoring and appropriate action by state boards of nursing.
Health care providers and members of the public who are concerned about a specific nurse’s credentials should file a complaint with their state board of nursing.