Ethics Violation-Would you remain silent or challenge the system?

  1. Today I was labeled a "whistleblower and tattletail because I, along with numerous other students, witnessed a table of individuals cheating on an exam in our Anatomy and Physiology class which is a major pre-req into entrance into the nursing program. One of the individuals completed the exam and recieved it back, and took the test back to the table where she distributed all the correct answers to them, in which they in turn proceeded to change all their previous answers. In absolute boldness, one of the girls said quite loudly, "what is the answer to the last one?", and the first individual read off the answers to her. The proffessor does not proctor the exams. He simply hands them out and grades them as soon as you complete them, and then hands them back with the right answers corrected in. He does not wait until each student has completed the exam to pass out the results. Nor does he cruise the classroom to make sure that everyone is done before begining a new lecture. I felt that this was a major loophole that obviously a table of students had taken advantage of. In his syllabus he states that SUSPICION of cheating will result in failure of the exams.

    Because at least 15 other students witnessed the cheating as well, we held a brief meeting about the issue and I told them I would address the professor since I was sitting next to the students and saw the entire situation. After class myself and another student asked to speak to the professor in confidentiality. The accussed students had caught wind earlier that they were going to be outted and had actually stuck around in the classroom to see who the individuals were. After they left, I told the proffessor what I and the other students had witnessed. He shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly and told me there was nothing he could do since he didn't see it happening and that next time I would have to tell him while it is happening. He also stated "and if they cheated on the last exam it didn't help them much because they made a 55". They recieved a 98 (which is an A) on today's test that they cheated on. The proffessor regarded me with an "I could careless" attitude and proceeded to pack his things. He did not ask me any questions about who else was involved, raised no concern that he is passing CHEATING students with an A into a highly competitive medical program who are in direct violation of the Colleges Code of Ethics. As I left with the other student, we noticed that the accused were actually waiting on us to leave and procceeded to follow us and threaten us for telling on them. They cautioned that I had better mind my own business and continued with verbal harrassment to the point I had to use profanity to stop them from FOLLOWING ME TO MY CAR. This incident has been brought to the proffessors attention by more than one occasion and he has not taken any steps in changing the testing process.

    There is going to be a pending investigation involving the students and the facult member who is now KNOWINGLY aiding them in their attempts to fraud the system. Nursing is a limited access program and is based solely on a point based system. Only sixty of 250 students are admitted each fall and to think that a group of UNQUALIFIED individuals are cheating their way to an open slot is a dissapointment to the College's Mission Statement. We do NOT NEED THESE TYPES OF PEOPLE IN CHARGE OF THE PUBLIC'S HEALTH! These are not leaders, these are not nurses. How would you feel if the doctor who was about to diagnose you had cheated is way through medical school? We have got to crack down on academic dishonesty and stop allowing it to continue because it's easy to turn the other cheek. How would you feel if you sacrificed work and family to dedicate yourself into getting into the nursing program, only to find out that there weren't enough slots, and the people who got in CHEATED their way in.

    I am sorry for the detail but it is the only way to explain the severity of the situation. As professionals in the field who have worked very hard to get where you are, what would you have done?
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Nov 10, '06 : Reason: changed font for ease of reading,
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  2. 145 Comments

  3. by   UM Review RN
    You did the right thing by going to him even though he failed (pardon the pun) all of you students by neglecting to proctor the test.

    Since he has not done anything to correct the problem, your next step is to bring it to the dean and report him as well as the other students.

    What you may not know is that there are cameras everywhere nowadays. There may have been a silent witness to this after all.
  4. by   traumaRUs
    I agree with Angie - take it up the food chain. Once you lose your integrity, you gotta wonder what else they would cheat at.
  5. by   kukukajoo
    DEFINATELY GO UP THE FOOD CHAIN!!

    I WOULD TELL THE Director of the program as well as the dean and the Driector of the Nursing Program!

    That is CRAP and to do so widespread and everyone heard and saw? You will have your backup you need to prove it and something will get done.

    I would also document the Professor's response- that was totally uncalled for!
  6. by   mom23RN
    Good for you!!!!!

    I am so sick of people turning a blind eye to things that they KNOW are wrong and using the excuse that it's "none of my business". Our socitey is SO out of control because we all think it's "none of our business". Well... good for you for standing up for what is good and right.

    I wish more people would take a lesson from your example.

    As for the threats, I would confront them if you have any more issues. This is a legal issue. If they threaten you then contact the police (campus or otherwise). They need to be expelled from the program. There are too many honest, harworking people trying to get in to allow this type of behavior.

    You may just want to report what has happened to the authorities even after teh fact. Just to have a record in case it progresses.

    Good luck!
  7. by   VickyRN
    You are to be commended for your courageous stance. You have great integrity in that you have stood up for what is right, instead of ducking low and turning a blind eye to the situation. I agree with the other posters - take it up the chain, to the Dean, if need be. Both the students and the professor need to be reported. Be careful to make your own notes (documentation) of the events while it is fresh in your mind. Include in this documentation everything (in objective terms) that the cheating students have said to you (threats, etc) as well as the conversation you had with the professor. Keep your notes in a safe place and don't let any of your classmates or professor know that you have made this diary of events. Also, be very careful about discussing any of these events and your plan of action with your classmates.
  8. by   Melina
    Quote from MissJanelle904
    He shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly and told me there was nothing he could do since he didn't see it happening and that next time I would have to tell him while it is happening. He also stated "and if they cheated on the last exam it didn't help them much because they made a 55".
    There is so much wrong with happened, but the teacher sharing another student's grade is a violation of the FEDERAL education act (FERPA). If your instructor isn't doing anything about the cheating, can you video them or something? They obviously don't care if people know.

    ~Mel'
  9. by   jsluv2run
    I am happy to hear that I am not alone either. I , too, and several students turned in four students for cheating on the Bio Chem lab sheets. They acutally had a used lab book/manual with all of the correct answers for the experiments. They would be deceitful by arriving to lab class set up and start their experiments then copy from the used book and turn their lab sheets in and leave, usually within an hour, when most of us two at least two hours to three to complete everything,including clean-up on certain experiments. When I advised our lab professor, he too, stated he needed to see it in action, so I waited for the next lab meeting, walked up to him and told, he was hesitant too and really didn't want to do anything about it.He, too said that they were failing lab anyways and they would just drop out so it really didn't matter.I told him it goes aganist the colleges' policies. He said he needed to talk to the dept chair first.Finally,he said he would take care of it and went t confront them. They continued to show up, struggled with the experiments, then dropped the class and lab. Lab prof. would return graded lab sheets and exams to us when we arrived early for lab, many times he would give me my lab sheets or tell me he would hand mine back with the rest of the class. Usually, I would receive my exam last. They were alphabetical and my last name is an 'S'. He was also indifferent to me and when I asked questions he gave me unrelated answers or just stated that I needed to read the textbook. I dropped the class and took it over again during Spg semester with a different professor. During lab as she was correcting my lab answers she told that she was proud of me, I was puzzled because I didn't do too good on that experiment,so I said, "Oh for trying and being determined"? She said,"No, for having integrity and ethics, I know you will go far with your life, and sleep well at night"!
    I also commend you for the choices you made. You do need the support of dept chairs or dept heads to back you up. Best of luck to you..you will make a great nurse!
  10. by   angelcharm
    bravo! u did the right thing
  11. by   Celia M
    You are to be commended for taking this courageous and difficult step. The prof should be reorted also. We certainly do not need this kind of a person in nursing. Nurses are viewed as on of the most trustworthy proffessions, we need to preserve that. Good for you, good luck and welcome to nursing I know that you will be a great advocate for your patients and your proffession.
    Celia
  12. by   reebok
    Could it be that the purpose of you reporting the cheating was b/c there is a limited amount of space for acceptance into the nursing school and you wanted to increase the odds of you entering by expelling others.

    Human Anatomy&physiology is a pre-requisite course. I would be sympathetic about your situation if the severity of them cheating could eventually cause harm to the college's reputation and future risk for patient problems. For ex: Cheating in an actual NURSING COURSE w/ a clinical is much more important. Dont waste your time worrying about others. As long as you make sure that you are doing the right thing you will be okay. If the professor doesn't care why should you.

    Im not saying that cheating is okay. But I will say that reporting them makes you no better. Ask these questions first.

    Prioritize: Is someone's life at stake? Will they eventually harm a patient?
    Could the college's reputation suffer from this?
  13. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I agree w/those that say, "take it up the food chain". Please do this. I do not want people like this nursing MY loved ones. They are the same ones who will make potentially-dangerous mistakes, possibly harming or killing someone, and then LIE about them. NO THANK YOU. We don't want them with us.
  14. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quoting Reebok:

    "Could it be that the purpose of you reporting the cheating was b/c there is a limited amount of space for acceptance into the nursing school and you wanted to increase the odds of you entering by expelling others. "


    Who cares? this is wrong, no matter the motivation for reporting it!


    ":Human Anatomy&physiology is a pre-requisite course. I would be sympathetic about your situation if the severity of them cheating could eventually cause harm to the college's reputation and future risk for patient problems. For ex: Cheating in an actual NURSING COURSE w/ a clinical is much more important. Dont waste your time worrying about others. As long as you make sure that you are doing the right thing you will be okay. If the professor doesn't care why should you. "


    Because these cheaters will be entering a profession in which safety and integrity cannot be separated or set aside in the name of CYA or efficiency. Simply-put, I don't want liars and cheaters caring for MY loved ones or myself. We should ALL care about this!


    "Im not saying that cheating is okay. But I will say that reporting them makes you no better. Ask these questions first.

    Prioritize: Is someone's life at stake? Will they eventually harm a patient?
    Could the college's reputation suffer from this?"



    "Prioritize"? I think letting liars and cheaters go on to graduate is a bad deal and it's right to report this to authorities who WILL care to do something about it.

    I just had surgery today. I would hate to think such people would be involved in MY care. Patients are depending on our honesty and they can be quite emotionally and physically- vulnerable in the hospital. They often can't speak up for themselves or their safety, but as their nurse advocates, we have not only the authority but the responsibility to do so on their behalf. Liars and cheaters cannot be relied-upon to do this, frankly.

    Again, who cares if the institution suffers? What about patient care and safety suffering? If those in authority are willing to turn their backs, maybe they deserve to have that happen (their reputation to suffer a bit). Otherwise, see my other words about not wanting liars and cheaters nursing me or mine. Funny how our ethics vary. But in nursing, ethics cannot be ignored or put aside. No way, no how. Don't mean to be picking on you, but after today, I myself, am reminded how it feels to be a patient and dependent on solid, comprehensive and empathetic nursing care.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Nov 10, '06

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