I get emails and messages from nursing students, new and experienced nurses asking for advice on a variety of topics. One of my favorite things to do is to help nurses succeed through problem solving. I especially love it when I get a question that involves an ethical dilemma like the following on cheating:
Here’s the situation:
One of your classmates is cheating. You know it and so does everyone else. She has managed to pass, semester after semester – cheating after cheating. You and your peers are so frustrated!! Although you feel sorry for her, you want her cheating to stop.
Question: What do you do? Do you tell? Do you keep quiet?
Here’s my response:
Regarding the cheater - a few questions to consider:
1. Do the instructors know she is cheating? Don’t assume they do.
2. Has anyone addressed this with her? Establishes peer-to-peer accountability.
3. How has she managed to not get caught?
You, your peers and especially your teachers have an ethical responsibility to address her cheating. Why? Because as a nurse, you always have to make decisions based on your responsibility to the public (patients). If you were a patient, would you want her caring for you?
If your teachers don't know...tell them. Remember, when you become a nurse, your priority is ALWAYS protecting patients...no matter what.
Please, please send me any questions you have and I’ll answer directly to you and may blog about it too. As in the above situation, I will not include any identifiers.
Thanks so much for reading and for choosing to become a nurse. I’m cheering for your success!!