California's Board of Registered Nursing wants to revoke the licenses of five nurses for running an unaccredited Garden Grove nursing school from 2007 to 2010. Students at Nightingale California International took nursing pre-licensure classes in Garden Grove and completed clinical training in the Philippines. They thought their training would lead them to become registered nurses, but they were not qualified to take the licensing exam, because their school was not approved or accredited by the state's nursing board.
Investigators went to the school, in October 2010, only to find an empty office, and the accused participants have been uncooperative with the investigation since, reports California Watch. The state's board have filed accusations against the school's board members' licenses—Lorelie Malate, Maria Teresa Avila Ibarra, Hector Cascalla, Bella Gorospe and Avery Malate.
This isn't the first time a nursing school has scammed its students. The RN Learning Center in Los Angeles racked in total of $20,000 from about 300 students who thought they were training to become registered nurses, only to find out they were ineligible to take the licensure exam. After an investigation, the state attorney general's office reached a $500,000 restitution settlement with the program in August 2010.
In the case of Nightingale, students will have to repeat their coursework at an accredited school. It's not known how many students attended the fake school. These types of sham operations rarely occur, but they're tough to monitor when they do according to Russ Heimerich, a spokesman for the state's nursing board.
“We have no way of knowing what's out there operating illegally until we get a heads up on it,” he said. “Until then, there's no way for us to get an investigation [underway].”
A lack of staffing and resources contributes to the problem. A bill proposed by Senator Curren Price (D-Los Angeles) seeks to remedy that by providing more funding and support to better assist the board in monitoring and approving nursing programs; the legislative measure recently moved from the senate floor to the state assembly where it's pending a decision.
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