Cheating in Nursing School

  1. I am new to this forum, but I would like to throw something out there and have some input. I am a first-year, non-traditional nursing student. I am considerably older than my colleagues, at least the majority of them. I am in my second year of school, did one year of gen eds while waiting to get into the program. In the process of waiting, came to be friends with some students also awaiting acceptance into the program. In particular, one girl and I became very close. She and I were in the same classes as well as clinicals. She was great in clinicals, but extremely weak in foundation and was actually failing the one class. Another student, (older male) offered her "questions and answers" to a test that we were about to take, knowing that she was failing and needed to pull a 100 on the next few tests in order to keep her place in the program.
    She told me of the situation, to which I told her I did not agree. She stated she did not either, but had them already and was not giving them back. I was not about to loose my position and that of my roommates by allowing her to come study at our house. It caused alot of problems, but the bottom line was this....It put the integrity of the test, as well as our program on the line. I felt it was necessary to speak up, which I did, and our test was not given on the scheduled day. While the rest of the students had no idea who was involved, they were all very angry that the tests that they studied for were not going to be given on that day....they did not understand the situation, or, better yet...did not care about the integrity of the program.
    I have been chastised and ignored in this program since. The student that gave the information is still in the program. The student that received the information is no longer in the program, but only because she did not pass the class. Nothing was done by the faculty, other than changing some policies regarding remediation of testing in their offices. Several students have made very derogatory statements to me about the situation, not knowing all the information but just hearing one side. A few students with some bit of maturity have applauded the action. It has been an eye-opening experience, to say the least.

    I would be interested in hearing from anyone else that may have had a similiar situation and what they did. Or...it would just be nice to hear words of understanding and support!
    •  
  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   RN BSN 2009
    That's awful... You stood up and did the right thing... after all.. why should someone else get an edge over you? You study just as hard as the next person and deserve a fair chance... Good luck on resolving this issue.
  4. by   caliotter3
    You may have done the right thing, but you are paying a price. Be glad that you are receiving this learning experience in school. When it happens in the workplace, you can and may end up unemployed as well as ostracized. No good deed goes unpunished is how it is in the workplace. You may find yourself caught between your ideals and your need for employment. So get used to it now. Nursing and nurses should be of the highest moral caliber, unfortunately, this is not always the norm. You have to make the decision how you will fit in. As someone told me: "You can be right and you can be dead right, and We all prostitute ourselves to our employers". Come to your personal conclusions and file this episode away for the future.
  5. by   nservice
    I certainly wouldn't want a nurse who cheated his/her way through nursing school, making life or death decisions about me or my family. Thank you for protecting the integrity of our profession.
  6. by   nurse4theplanet
    You did the right thing. You are going to take heat from others who don't have the courage or strong moral convictions that you possess. Don't sweat it.

    How did this student come across the questions and answers for this test? In our program, we never got to keep our tests...just review them immediately after they were graded and hand them back in. They were kept locked up until final grades were issued and challenged (if need be)...then they were shredded. Tests were not the same from semester to semester...so no help could be gained from students who were ahead of us. It would have been impossible to cheat in our program unless you broke into the test closet and stole the test (which one student attempted one year prior to my entry into the program).

    Another thing, if this student had been proven to have provided the answers...both would be immediately dropped from the program. There was a clear zero tolerance policy regarding cheating.

    And finally, we had an honor code as well. We were obligated by the honor code to do exactly as you did if we were privvy to such information. If it could be proven that we knew about the cheating, yet did not report it, then we could be dropped from the program as well.

    I think you did the right thing. Hopefully this will blow over with your other classmates in time. If not, rest assured that you acted appropriately.
  7. by   Tiwi
    "Whistleblowers" are brave ppl. You've definitely done the right thing, I can assure you.
  8. by   justme1972
    I have mixed feelings on this. Did the male student that gave the other the "questions and answers" on a test that you were about to take, take the course the previous term or was it the current term?

    If it was the current term, then no question about it, it's cheating and you did the right thing.

    However, I think (and this is just my opinion), if a student wants to share information, even tests, from a previous term with a student. I have never considered that cheating...that's just good record-keeping. If I was on the receiving end of it, there is no way I would fool myself into thinking that woudl be the same test that was given to me....I would look at it as a study guide of how questions might be structured, and the type of material being tested over.

    It's not a smart thing for professors, if they give the same test over and over again, to give the actual test back to students. Tests from previous terms, I believe, is a resource, and if you leave them floating out there for everyone to have, then at least take the time to make up a new one.
  9. by   Freedom42
    Quote from Hopefull2009
    I think (and this is just my opinion), if a student wants to share information, even tests, from a previous term with a student. I have never considered that cheating...that's just good record-keeping. If I was on the receiving end of it, there is no way I would fool myself into thinking that woudl be the same test that was given to me....I would look at it as a study guide of how questions might be structured, and the type of material being tested over.
    I agree. I don't consider the use of old test materials -- exams that have already been published -- to be cheating. I consider that resourceful. You do whatever it takes to get the best possible grade.

    So were the answers old or current? And if they were from a current test, what action, if any, was taken against the student who supplied them?
  10. by   jeanniern55
    I agree with you maybe it is a maturity thing but you gotta wonder if there are people cheating and by some fluke make it through what kind of nurse will they be?
  11. by   gitterbug
    There was a group of students when I was in nursing school who seemed to have insider information on tests and labs. Several of us attempted to talk with a more trusted instructor regarding the situation, but it was ignored. I think this happens on a regular basis in lots of programs. Just another little secret in nursing we don't hear about. Mature students seem to bear an extra burden while in school, we seem to rattle the cages of the instructors more, be the brunt of younger, more "hip" students jokes and we are expected to act and perform differently than the younger student. Just get through what ever you have to do to get the degree. In the end those who have cheated are not going to end up working long. Life has a way of kicking those people in the rear rather firmly. Good luck and attempt to find a serene place within yourself and with your Higher Power for assistance.
  12. by   AlwaysTired
    I truly admire what you did. I was offered a "study guide" from a student sitting next to me and stuck it in my notebook. Later when I got home and looked at it I realized that it was obviously old test questions and answers from a recent semester. I stopped reading it and immediately shredded it. I won't lie and say the temptation wasn't there (I also needed to pull a good grade on this test), and I more than likely would've used the answers had I been younger (not insulting all young people, I was just different then). But it BOTHERED me so badly for the next several days. We too have a code of honor and are supposed to report cheating if we know about it. But I was SO scared. It's my last semester and I'm so close. Anyway..to cut the story short, I studied my rear off for that test (and prayed a lot) and made an 88. I was SO proud of myself. The ones that cheated didn't make much better than me. It still bothers me, I don't know if I did the right thing or not. There were so many factors to consider if I blew the whistle. The girl with the answers is not a nurse yet, but I'm an LPN (it's and ADN program) and I know that she shared the info with her friend who is also an LPN with 18 years hospital experience. Was I going to risk ruining this woman's career? She's a darn good nurse, never could figure out why she would cheat; just being lazy I guess. So just wanted to say that you did the thing that I did not have the courage to do so take pride. I know times are tough but this too shall pass. Good Luck!!
  13. by   Nikki422
    The biggest problem with studying from older tests is the fact that SO many programs keep re-using the same tests, semester after semester, year after year. Most of my instructors won't even let us leave the room with an exam booklet, either accidentally or on purpose. If we somehow manage to get out of the room with it, we automatically fail the exam, which in most cases results in a grade below 70% for the course - resulting in a course failure. This can really mess up a nursing students curriculum..with such a planned out course schedule, failing one class can result in an extra year in school.
  14. by   RNLULULABAMBA
    My school mate cheated all the way out of nursing school (AAS program). There were rumors all over when we were in school, but we did not have the evidence to come forward. It took her over four years to pass the nclex exam after graduation. By then many of us have earned our BSN and few were working as supervisors in a nursing home. All of those that cheat end up paying the price.

close