Fake diploma scandal: Four Kenyan nurses lose US licences in FBI probe

Four Kenyan nurses lose US licences in FBI probe.

Photo credit: File I SHUTTERSTOCK

Four Kenyans are among 10 individuals whose licenses have been revoked by the Washington Department of Health (WDH) in the wake of a fake diploma scandal that has rocked the nursing profession.

The affected registered nurses, some of whom are victims of the scam, failed to provide adequate proof for qualifications to be licensed.

The revocation follows revelations made in January that three schools in South Florida had handed out an estimated 7,600 fake qualifications which allowed students to sit national nursing board exams and obtained licences as registered nurses in several states.

“In conjunction with ongoing investigations into the legitimacy of multiple Florida-based nursing schools, the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC) has taken non-disciplinary action to rescind the nursing (RN) license of the following individuals…” said WDH in a statement.

The four Kenyans whose licences have been rescinded are Ndungu Gabriel, Waithera Irene, Kamau Ruth and Nganga Elizabeth.

In addition to this, the NCQAC has denied another four individuals the registered nursing licence in Washington after they failed to prove their qualifications.

Officials at the commission became suspicious when they started receiving applications for licencing with school transcripts bearing uncharacteristic differences from the typical transcripts.

Nursing regulatory organisations assisted the FBI to flag the three Florida nursing schools at the centre of falsifying diplomas in exchange for fees ranging from $10,000 to $15,000.

The schools are Siena College, Sacred Heart International Institute and Palm Beach School of Nursing.

Uncovering the fraud by federal prosecutors has raised concerns about public safety and how nurses are viewed as healthcare providers.

The certified nursing assistant (CNA) is seen by Kenyans as a key to opportunities abroad due to its high demand despite them not requiring to earn a university or college degree.

CNAs assist patients with immediate healthcare needs under the supervision of a certified nurse, marking a good starting point for those interested in becoming registered nurses.