Bogus degree?


a colleague of mine notes "phd" in her credentials, and on her website notes her education. the place she got her phd was an egregiously bogus diploma mill that was shut down in several states for being fraudulent, has gone out of business, and is facing lawsuits from many grads who cannot use their credentials because they came from an unaccredited (and widely discredited) "school."

i am conflicted about what to do. should i gently remind her that leaving this up on her website opens her up to criticism and perhaps loss of opportunity, e.g., future potential clients will see that and decline to use her services? or just mind my own business and let it stay up there and make her look bad?

MN-Nurse, ASN, RN

1,398 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg - Renal.

Leave it be.

Odds are she knows it's bogus.

Altra, BSN, RN

6,255 Posts

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

Does her client base affect your client base? If so, then you may have a vested interest.

allnurses Guide


1,025 Posts

If I were you, I'd mind my business. Why are you poking around and looking up her credentials? Sounds like you are looking for trouble with this one.

Altra, BSN, RN

6,255 Posts

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.
If I were you, I'd mind my business. Why are you poking around and looking up her credentials? Sounds like you are looking for trouble with this one.

The OP is an independent practitioner, and it sounds as though this colleague is probably also an independent practitioner in a similar or complementary practice area as the OP. Or is possibly the OP's competition.

In other words: if you are a plumber who gets referrals from a general contractor/carpenter ... his/her reputation DOES affect your reputation as well.

Specializes in Trauma, ER, ICU, CCU, PACU, GI, Cardiology, OR. Has 55 years experience.

grntea, there are times that is best to say nothing at all, because the person in question can become defensive regarding their credentials, and you could end up as the bad guy. undoubtedly, this is a situation that your damn if you do and damn if you don't. unquestionably, you want to help her and i commend you for it. furthermore, if you still think that she needs to know that everyone is aware of her bogus credentials, maybe you can print the article regarding the school and leave it where only her can see it. moreover, this reminds me of a similar case not long ago where a nurse work for several years as an rn and even received the title nurse of the year during "nurses week" then someone found out that her credentials were bogus, i'm sure you recall this incident. honestly, i wouldn't want you to get in trouble with this person, but once again it is your call, do what you think is correct. btw, keep us up to date i for one would be curious on the results of this dilemma. wishing you and your colleague the very best always...aloha~

nurseprnRN, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 5,114 Posts

i like this person, have worked with her on a project or two, and always meant to ask her what her phd was in but never got a chance when we were in the same place. altra is right, we are both independents in a comparatively small world. although we are not in direct competition, i had not thought about the idea that if some of us "enhance" our credentials it could make us all look bad.

there's a business-etiquette q&a column in the sunday paper that often addresses questioners' concerns with how to deal with a colleague beginning thus, "joe, we have worked together for x years and i value your collegiality. however, there's something i have noticed and i hope that if you noticed it with me you would tell me. have you ever noticed that ... ?" maybe there's something there.

i will give this more thought, and i really appreciate the feedback.

netglow, ASN, RN

4,412 Posts

Well, I'd say that there is nothing that your conversation with her would benefit. Do you think this person would just stop working or attempting to find work after your conversation? Could you report her to the BON for anything? If both answers are "no" I would not invest time in it.

Aside: example, I have met many nurses who specifically went to a country outside the US for what they say is an easy and cheap BSN and then came back here to get work. They laugh and admit it as well as fear when reality hits them. Yes, I hate it too that they did this. But, really what can I do? They will still keep trying to work as a nurse (because they have the paper that says they can) and really, those that hire don't care (lets be honest, its about who you know). You see? Realistically, could I sit down and tell them they should step away and not work? If someone told me the same frankly I'd laugh.

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Is your colleague a nurse? If he/she lists the bogus degree in conjunction with another professional degree, that is probably a violation of your state's practice act - for any licensure.

I disagree with some of the PP's.... having been in the same situation a few times before . . . you need to confront the issue with that individual. It infuriates me (and probably anyone else who has earned their credentials) that there are people out there who try to fake their way through life. It is simply a moral imperative to let them know that it is NOT OK. Silence is acquiescence.

For the last couple of decades, I have been working closely with HR on various projects & they tell me that this is an increasing phenomenon. It astonishes me that anyone would do this when it is so easy to uncover. Do they think no one is going to check?? Is the subsequent humiliation really worth it?

In the US, we are protected from 'fake' healthcare credentials by virtue of all the hoops that any foreign grad must undergo, so I am not really concerned about that issue.