Pi Phi Chapter

Academic Dishonesty in Nursing School

Nursing Research on the Green

2017 Abstract

Daniel Lundtvedt, BSN, RN – Western Technincal College

  • Background:  Undergraduate students are becoming more creative and resourceful when finding methods to cheat in both online and traditional courses (Ison, 2014).  Technology makes it increasingly easier for students to plagiarize papers or cheat on online examinations.  In addition, many students are performance-oriented while admittedly being too lazy to work for their grades (Jena & Shiotang, 2015).  Policies written to address academic dishonesty at many institutions are vague, leaving both students and faculty wondering what constitutes cheating.  In addition, students are often not punished. Unclear policies allow students freedom from many repercussions associated with dishonesty.  The public perceives nursing as one of the most ethical professions (Gallup, 2016).  When nursing students engage in academic dishonesty, the reputation of the nursing profession is tarnished.  If students cheat in the classroom, the behavior may follow them into their  professional nursing role.
  • Significance:  Nursing is an ethical profession.  If students cheat in the classroom, the behaviors may follow them into the clinical setting.  Employers should not hire nurses who engage in unethical behavior.  If faculty can work with students to develop polices to deter cheating, then the ethical behaviors will follow students into practice.  The significance is maintaining the ethical standards which are perceived by the public for the nursing profession.
  • Purpose/objective:  The study was conducted in two parts.  My final assignment for my Master's Program through Liberty University was to conduct a comprehensive literature review.  The topic was chosen as academic dishonesty is happening at many institutions across the country.  Western Technical College is no different.  Students of today are different than students from yesterday.  What some faculty perceive as cheating, others may not perceive the same thing.  The goal was to research methods to help deter cheating in the academic setting.  The aim is to bring the findings forward to help my current institution revise the current policy to ensure cheating is clearly defined and consequences are followed.
  • Methods/project:  A comprehensive search was completed using multiple databases.  The focus of the search was to determine the reason behind academic dishonesty as well as successful prevention techniques utilized in  universities and colleges.  The initial search yielded a variety of articles.  Articles in the final literature review included original research. Methods of investigation were defined to help validate the findings.    Articles lacking original or clear research methods were omitted.  
  • Results:  Drexel University has already implemented a policy combining input from both faculty and students successfully.  The policy has deterred cheating in their academic setting.  Although there are many reasons student engage the activity, two of the main reasons are they do not fear the consequences and they fear failing the course.  In addition, faculty have many different perceptions on what constitutes cheating.  It is difficult to enforce consequences when there is not an agreed upon definition of the meaning of academic dishonesty.  When students fear consequences and the polices are clearly written, academic dishonesty has been deterred at the post-secondary level.
  • Clinical implications:  Academic dishonesty is becoming more prevalent in many institutions.  Nursing is not exempt from the issues stemming from cheating in the post-secondary environment.  The behaviors students demonstrate in the classroom often follow them into practice.  Employers hesitate to hire nurses who engage in unethical behavior.  This behavior is a direct reflection of the institution where the student obtained a nursing degree.  Student involvement in revising and implementing dishonesty polices has been effective in deterring cheating in the academic setting (Anselmi, Glasgow, & Gambescia, 2014).  Further research should be conducted to determine the best method to discourage students from participating in undesirable behaviors. 

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