State shuts down Fayetteville school that put ill-trained people in medical positions

Posted October 9, 2015 1:45 p.m. EDT
Updated October 9, 2015 7:09 p.m. EDT

— A Superior Court judge on Thursday ordered a for-profit college to stop operating after the North Carolina Attorney General's Office said the school was sending students into medical positions without proper training.

Under the order issued by Judge Bryan Collins, North Carolina Medical Institute, at 114 Anderson St., and its owner, Sherita McQueen, cannot advertise, offer any classes or accept payment for any educational products or services in North Carolina. Attorney General Roy Cooper said he is seeking a permanent ban against the school and refunds for students.

“Students seeking training to upgrade their job skills deserve to get what they pay for, and patients deserve care from properly trained employees,” Cooper said in a statement.

The North Carolina State Board of Proprietary Schools and the North Carolina State Board of Nursing refused to renew N.C. Medical Institute’s license in May after finding that the school advertised and enrolled students in unlicensed courses, employed unapproved teaching instructors and presented misleading information to the State Board of Community Colleges, which regulates trade and technical schools.

N.C. Medical Institute is also accused of using unlawful practices while licensed. According to an affidavit filed by a North Carolina Board of Nursing employee, the school continued to offer a Nursing Aide II program despite repeatedly failing to meet state requirements.

After the school lost its licenses, McQueen misled prospective students by telling them that the courses offered by her school were accredited, Cooper said. N.C. Medical Institute continued to charge fees as high as $800 per course for unlicensed medical training programs, and after completing the classes, students often found themselves unprepared or ineligible for jobs in their fields of study, he said.

Cooper said the school potentially endangered patients by certifying some students as qualified nursing aides after completing far less training than required by law. He alleged that McQueen used a former employee’s nursing license and Social Security number and entered 50 unqualified Nursing Aide II students into the State Board of Nursing’s electronic registry, permitting them to get jobs, but there was no word on whether she could face criminal charges in the case.

Angela Wright said she enrolled at N.C. Medical Institute last fall after seeing an ad in Craigslist, but she quit after going through an orientation she described Friday as less than inspiring.

"I wouldn't say it was professional at all because, once we got there for orientation, we had to wait for like an hour or so before she even came in the room," Wright said of McQueen. "They lacked supplies. All of us, five people, had to use the same nasty glove that she said other students had been using – one nasty glove."

Wright drove from Chapel Hill to Fayetteville for courses she hoped would certify her as a Level II nursing assistant. She said McQueen told students she could get them trained in less than a month – the state requires 180 hours of training.

"That bothers me that a person can go out there and just scam human beings, people that are trying to do something with themselves," said Wright, who got her $300 in tuition back after dropping out.