“While we await the outcome of the HPC's investigations, we would like to reassure our residents that the clinical professionals concerned are not currently providing health care services in the Cayman Islands.”
Ministry of Health and Wellness
CMR) Several nurses have been caught with fraudulent certifications in recent months, leaving some to wonder when the Cayman Islands Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) will close a loophole that has existed for decades. The Ministry of Health and Wellness confirmed that the Health Practice Commission has launched an investigation into the matter.
About a month ago, CMR became aware of two nurses at two different hospitals having allegedly produced the same fraudulent documentation in order to obtain employment on the island.
One of the two nurses was employed at Doctor's Hospital (DH) and sought to obtain a position at the Health Services Authority (HSA). However, because the HSA had implemented a more rigorous primary verification process as part of their recent JCI accreditation, they discovered the alleged fraud.
Additionally, another person who had already been employed at the HSA was also found to have the same shared transcripts and took a similar path via Jamaica to obtain her nursing license. Sources reveal she was not employed there for very long before the fraud was discovered and that she is also no longer employed at that facility.
The management at Doctor's Hospital confirmed that “all organizations rely upon the Councils' very robust process to ensure individuals adequately qualified are granted licenses to practice in the Cayman Islands.” The NMC informed DH of an investigation in early May which resulted in them removing the individual from active duty, which is required by law.
Despite this, there appears to be a well-known longstanding loophole that allows nurses who do not qualify for full registration pursuant to section 24 of the Health Practice Act to circumvent the entire process by getting certified via Jamaica. In Jamaica, the requirement to get fully licensed for non-Jamaican nationals is to present a diploma and curriculum that is “similar” to what would be required to sit the board exams there. However, there's no need for the foreign person to sit any evaluating examination.
Ironically, nurses trained in Jamaica have to pass a robust regional examination for nurse registration.
It is believed that these two nurses came to the Cayman Islands via the institutional registration process, which means they could only work at that facility. In order to take up employment elsewhere, they would have to obtain full registration. Full registration is only available to persons already registered as a health practitioner in the following countries:
The evidence shows that they proceeded to then go to Jamaica to get approval from the Nursing Council of Jamaica. Jamaica merely requires a similar curriculum to what is taught there. It is understood that they obtained a curriculum from the internet and simply supplied it to the NCJ along with a nursing certificate.
From CMR's research, the NCJ does not undertake any primary source verification on the documentation submitted to them. The nursing license is then obtained from Jamaica and presented to Cayman's NMC pursuant to section 5 of the Health Practice Regulations. It appears the NMC then engages in a rubber stamping exercise. The local institutions are then relying on the assumption that the NMC would have verified the credentials satisfactorily.
The allegation is that the process is not robust and rigorous enough in the Cayman Islands, and this is an area of major concern.
In January, CMR reported some 7,600 fraudulent nursing diplomas were sold in Florida.