scrubz. . .let me give you a manager's view on this since i have been in a management position and see this from a different point of view than what you are seeing.
first of all, your friend had something medically happen to her while she was engaged in a school activity. she was absolutely correct to report this to the dean. i'm curious as to what prompted her to report this to the dean in the first place? it was the correct thing to do. you should think of your dean as being your manager as well. the dean is responsible for the conduct of every nursing student just as i was responsible for the conduct of every nurse who i managed. once the dean is aware of someone with a medical problem that potentially affects their performance, and ultimately patient care, there is a duty on their part to act upon it.
second, you weren't also on the phone when your friend and the dean spoke were you? so, you couldn't have actually heard what was said. you are only being told second hand information. you have no way of knowing that your friend is telling you the true facts of the conversation she had with the dean. in addition, your friend is inserting her own emotional response to the conversation. think about what you are learning in school about assessment and the difference between subjective and objective fact. there are two sides to every conversation.
third, it is not uncommon in any workplace that an employee be required to submit a statement of some sort from a physician that indicates they can return to work and if there are any limitations to the kind of work they can or can't do, particularly after an incident where the employee was taken to the er while on the job! in fact, some employers won't let any employee back if they can't perform their job duties at 100%. it is up the choice of the facility, their rules and perhaps the rules of their liability insurance carrier as well. think about this, however. the potential of a caregiver passing out while in the act of doing something with a patient could pose a serious safety issue to the patient that could place the school, the facility, the patient and the student in very serious positions of potential physical injury and potential legal liability. as a student you are trying to get successfully navigate your way through nursing school. the dean is trying to deliver that service to you as well as keep the school afloat for other students to come along seeking the same. the dean would be amiss in his/her duty to allow a problem to occur that could potentially end up closing the school down. the dean has bigger fish to fry here.
our dean told her that if she doesn't have a diagnosis or a write-up from her doctor detailing her limitations that she'll be removed from the program under the explanation that "you're too much of a risk," as quoted by the dean, and essentially that you can't be a nurse if you're like this.
i would have been suggesting that your friend needs to be seeing her regular physician for evaluation and that i need a report from him or her as to her ability to perform what is going to be required of her as a student nurse with some assurance that she is not going to be passing out while working with patients since it is probably required by the liability insurance carrier or an agreement the school has with the hospital. i have had nursing employees argue back to me that they didn't feel it was necessary to follow up with their doctors!!! nurses are sometimes the worst patients--honestly! how do you know that your friend wasn't arguing back with the dean? it sounds like the dean might have gotten a short fuse if she did and just laid down the law (i would have) and very bluntly said something like, "if you don't take care of this problem, then you're too much of a risk to the program." it's a great motivator to get people to do the right thing. also! i don't know what your school required in the way of a pre-employment physical exam, but is there a possibility that your friend deliberately withheld information relating to her heart condition during the pre-admission process? some schools might make that grounds for an immediate dismissal based upon omission of crucial information. some places view it in the same vein as lying.
i understand this is your friend, but i would advise that you don't get involved in her problems with the school. be a good friend and urge her to do whatever she needs to do to stay in the school. if she wants to be a nurse bad enough, she'll do what is right. my sense is that there is more going on with this student and her problems with the dean that she is actually revealing to the rest of you. people for various reasons don't always tell people the entire truth of things. there are always two sides to every story. don't let her drag you all down into her pit of defeat if that is where she seems determined to go. misery loves company. are you really willing to sacrifice your own nursing career by spitting in the face of your dean based on the hearsay of this friend that you probably didn't even know 5 years ago? and, may not even continue to have contact with in 5 or 10 years? fact of life: people come and go in our lives. pick your battles carefully. remember that the only behavior you have control over is your own.
so is there anyone she can talk to about this?