Nursing is a discipline that requires a great deal of knowledge of physiology, anatomy, chemistry, clinical studies, etc. It is a profession that requires the application of several years of education, research, and practice. From correctly taking a patient's blood pressure to inserting a catheter to cleaning wounds to changing bandages correctly- it is truly a profession that should not be taken lightly, as nurses are in charge firsthand of caring for patients in their needs. Not only that, lives are at stake. Mistakes made by nurses can lead to patient deaths.
Therefore, forgery scams involving nurses are particularly dangerous to the public. Read more about the latest updates on the nurses being tried for forging their licenses.
What is Required to Become an RN?
For a registered nurse (RN), the study time is usually between two and five years. RNs in the United States may hold either an associate's degree, which takes closer to two years, or a bachelor's degree, which requires closer to four or five years.
Find Out How to Get Your RN License Here
Once an accredited nurse training program has been completed, the individual must process an application with a fee to take the NCLEX exam and pass it to obtain a license to work. For LPNs (licensed practical nurses) and CNAs (certified nursing assistants), the study time is shorter, between one and two years, with all the necessary practices. LPNs take the NCLEX-PN and registered nurses take the NCLEX-RN, and nursing assistants must pass the test required in their particular state.
The experience they gain during their study allows them to be at the forefront of the clinical setting with the skills needed to care for and treat their patients. It is imperative to have all the knowledge required for the safety of the nurses and the patients.
In the news, 43 Nigerian nurses recently faced charges for forging fraudulent transcripts. They only did some of this process and study time before the NCLEX exam, but they just took the exam and acquired their licenses fraudulently.
Nurses Working with Fake Licenses
Nurses working with fraudulent licenses diminish the reputation of those who did all the processes and studied with dedication. In other words, knowing that there are nurses who should not be nurses, public opinion diminishes the value of nurses who have legal certifications and have gone through the legal process. Patients, the general public, and other nurses may come to doubt their colleagues and the nurses caring for them, and patients generally become more fearful of their care.
Operation Nightingale Identies Fraudulent Nurses
Operation Nightingale, in honor of Florence Nightingale, considered the founder of nursing, is being implemented through federal and state investigation. 43 Nurses from Nigeria are now facing criminal charges, among 75 people being probed by the Texas Board of Nursing for having falsified transcripts, degrees, and college diplomas. These nurses had some way of obtaining transcripts to take their NCLEX exams and obtaining their licenses without having attended any nursing program or training, and 43 were Nigerian nationals.
Nurse forgery charges will be applied to these nurses. The charges can result in up to 20 years in prison, and although the disciplinary actions are so decisive, many nurses opt for these fraudulent actions and falsify their transcripts. Many nursing schools that issued these transcripts are also on probation and are closed until the situation is clarified, so it is unknown if they will be permanently closed. The people involved in this scheme will face nearly $15,000 in fines for each license issued because they knew that by issuing false certificates, nurses could take their nursing exam, get their license and work in a profession practicing on patients - people whose lives should not be taken lightly.
Read How the Quality of Care is Improved Through Patient Safety
Implications for Society and the Public
The importance of nursing licensure and its legality is the protection of the public, patients, hospitals, nurses, and other members of healthcare personnel. According to NCSBN (National Council of State Boards of Nursing), the purpose of a professional license is to protect the public from harm by setting the minimal qualifications and competencies for all new practitioners, given that patients may or may not know whether or not a nurse is able and qualified.
Nursing is one of the health professions that can cause harm to people if it is practiced by someone who is underprepared or incompetent to perform it. Nurses often have the lives of patients in their hands daily. Making a correct calculation, remembering a detail of their care or treatment, informing other healthcare staff of essential information, etc., can save patients' lives. It is typical for lack of clinical skills or an oversight due to overworking to happen to a nurse, although it is not as likely to happen to a licensed and trained nurse. On top of that, it might be someone who has yet to accumulate hundreds of hours of study and clinical practice. This means their licenses were false, and this scheme deceived patients, their families, the hospitals, and the general public. Nurses hold patients' lives in their hands, and working in healthcare should not be taken lightly.