Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

State: School nurse forged license

20

September

BROOKSVILLE -- She gave out Bandaids and cough drops, even inserted catheters and feeding tubes for special-needs students -- just like a real school nurse.

Except she wasn't one, officials said.

Hernando County School Board officials say Jean Sciacovelli, 42, never earned the practical nursing license that got her hired last year at Deltona Elementary School.

Sciacovelli was arrested Wednesday on felony charges of unlicensed practice of a health care profession, after a joint investigation by the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. She is being held in the Hernando County Jail and bail was set at $5,000.

Investigators said Sciacovelli gave the Hernando schools another person's Licensed Practical Nurse document, altering the name. She allegedly did the same thing later when applying for a job with Maxim Healthcare Services in Brooksville, and is also being investigated for using forged documents in New York.

During the year she worked at Deltona as a health care aid, Sciacovelli did all the jobs of a school nurse, said Heather Martin, executive director of business services for the district.

It's a particularly sensitive job at that school, which serves as a center school for special-needs students. Among its population are "medically challenged students" who require tube feeding and other types of special care, Martin said.

Sciacovelli's contract at Deltona was not extended beyond the 2006-07 school year, after officials discovered she hadn't disclosed a previous arrest, Martin said.

"Of course the principal or hiring administrator does reference checking," she added.

But that checking didn't include verifying Sciacovelli's license claims. And a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Health said those records are readily available on the Web.

"You can go in as a citizen and do a license lookup, or if you have a name you can find a practitioner profile," said deputy press secretary Eulinda Jackson. "It's up to the employer to research and find out if they're legitimate. Especially to maintain and protect the safety of Floridians, we encourage them to check that."

Martin said an LPN license was advertised as a requirement for the Deltona job, but wasn't actually considered a requirement since the district provides its own training with the Hernando County Health Department. And while Sciacovelli claimed a New York license, she didn't claim Florida license until she was a month into the job in Sept. 2006 in order to get a pay supplement, Martin said.

But the district never verified the Florida certificate when it was presented, she acknowledged. "We did not check it from the licensing agency to see if it was valid," Martin said. "You can be assured that will not happen again, because we will start looking at that."

-- Tom Marshall, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:23am]

    

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