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Cleaning up Other's Messes-long, sorry


Specializes in med-surg, psych, ER, school nurse-CRNP. Has 15 years experience.

I am in my second semester of grad school, pursuing a NP certificate. I am less than a week from finals, and I am unable to study. Why? Because I have a paper due for another class, and due to a certain person, I have to stay up till all hours to get it done.

Many of you will remember the "pinch her head off" thread about the same class, different lady. We had another group project due, and she turned her part in late, and it was of horrible quality. When I did not use a great deal of it, instead of confronting me, she phoned another group member who was out of state with a sick fiancee, and had her call me!

Fast forward- this gal turned her paper in a week early, and it was great!

The lady with the sick fiancee, well....he died. She did not drop the class, and we gave her a very small part to do for the final project, with a reasonable deadline. All we heard was "I'm clueless. What do I do?"

I finally told her to do as best she could, and I would tweak it if I needed to (I'm the editor, so I type up the finished paper). She submitted some work that she said was hers. The spelling was decidedly European, and this woman is not from Europe. I asked her again if it was hers, she said it was. So, I submitted our paper to turnitin.com, an anti-plagiarism site. It came back 18% plagiarized, all her stuff, all from wikipedia.com. :madface::banghead:

Now I have to fix it, but this just steams my clams, that a so-called professional would jeopardize our grade like that. Any advice? The prof is aware, and I can't wait to see what she does. Just want to know from you sane heads out there.

TigerGalLE, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, Med/Surg.

I'm not saying what she did was right by any means. But I'd hate to be in her position. I don't know what I would do if I lost the love of my life. I surely couldn't write a paper.... just my 2 cents.

AngelfireRN, MSN, RN, APRN

Specializes in med-surg, psych, ER, school nurse-CRNP. Has 15 years experience.

I am not denying that if my hubby had died, I'd be a basket case. I would have dropped out for sure. But she did not. That was her choice. She chose to stay, and told us she did not want special treatment, to give her a part to do. We were all sorry that the poor man died.

I did not think to put that in. We're not monsters. This was her choice. There was another project due that she had no part in. What she had to write amounted to a paragraph, no more. We thought that was more than fair.

Point being, she chose to stay, for better, worse, or indifferent, and now we could all fail because of her laziness and shoddy work. I'd honestly have preferred she not do anything rather than this.

TigerGalLE, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, Med/Surg.

Oh i agree. What she did was STUPID. I wasn't really sticking up for her. I was just thinking how I would feel. And yea, I probably would of just dropped the class. I would probably just try to talk to her. Tell her you aren't going to use her part in the paper. And if she'd like to really write it herself then you would think about using it so that she could get credit for helping. But at this point I'd delete her part, tell the teacher she didn't contribute and let them duke it out. Or you could be forgiving and let her redo it. But she put all of the group at risk for getting an F or even getting kicked out of school and that was STUPID.


DutchgirlRN, ASN, RN

Specializes in OB, M/S, HH, Medical Imaging RN. Has 33 years experience.

surely the school/instructor would take this into consideration? she was only missing a paragraph, surely they wouldn't be so cruel as to fail everyone because one member had suffered a tragic loss? appeal to their human side. sorry, that's all i have to offer. i'm actually kinda blown away by it. :crying2:

santhony44, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in FNP, Peds, Epilepsy, Mgt., Occ. Ed.

All I can think is, it's possible she isn't even thinking straight. Maybe she's just in a complete fog. Is it possible she's up to her eyebrows in Xanax or something?

I'd be willing to bet that she's not thinking right now.

I meant to add- sure she should've dropped, but she might not be able to get herself together enough to even see that at this point.

AngelfireRN, MSN, RN, APRN

Specializes in med-surg, psych, ER, school nurse-CRNP. Has 15 years experience.

The teacher already knows, we submitted our work on the school bulletin board as we went along for critiquing by her. She also gets the turnitin report, so she knew about it, and she knew whose purported work it was.

The paragraph was no biggie, we could have done it, and nothing would have been said about it.

As far as the not thinking straight, she was, and she flat-out lied. I asked her if it was her work and she told me that it was, had she said otherwise, I would have paraphrased. I told her that before she sent it in. The whole group has bent over backwards for her, but this is cheating, and the teacher saw it. I had alluded to the fact that I did not think it was her work, but the plagiarism report confirmed it.

I don't think the prof will fail all of us, but I hate to think what she does to this woman. Per school policy, this is grounds for expulsion, no matter the circumstance.

Would they let her cheat on a test because her fiancee died? No. I feel terrible about that, but she chose to do this. Human side or not, she submitted it to the teacher as her own work before I incorporated it into the paper, so the nail's already been driven. Taking her part out now won't hide the fact that she cheated.

Thanks for the input, I was so mad this morning, I was almost crying. I feel a bit better now, paper's done, printed, 22 pages, 5000 words, and I am whipped. But it's done, thank mercy. Thanks again.


Specializes in cardiac. Has 5 years experience.

I'm kinda thinking that this woman was greiving. We all do it differently. As others have stated. She just may not have been herself. I'm not so sure I would have been able to write a paper so quickly after the loss of a loved one. Maybe she gave it her best effort considering the circumstances.


Specializes in ER, ICU cath lab, remote med.

Had a similar issue on a group paper during my BSN program.

One member turned in her portion very late. I was the "editor" and while reading her portion, realized I'd read the exact same words somewhere before. After a little research, I found the published work she'd plagiarized from. I brought it to the attention of our group and we decided to gently confront her. She acted as if it was a typo that she didn't put quotes or citations in. This was like 1.5 pages of material that was word for word from a published paper. Anyway, our school was very clear about "group work" being "group graded" and our fear was that if we turned the paper in as is, knowing she plagiarized, we would all be held responsible. I edited her portion, put the proper punctuation and citations in, and we all refused to work with her again.

Can I just say...I DETEST group projects?!?!


Specializes in PCU, Home Health. Has 4 years experience.

I wonder if there is an option for the profs to drop this woman out of the class now without failing her- kind of like a mercy thing- but she still has to do the class over.

I too hated the group project. In my peds class me and a partner worked up a teaching project to be done at our clinical. (A neat handwashing activity with much research to support.) Two other students got in on it about 30 minutes before we presented the activity. No problem, they can write up the critique and type it up so that they can actually earn part of the grade. Well they lost all of our work, and stated they never got it. Partner and I had the research- we basically did it all over again- the other two turkeys got an A even though they contributed nothing. Ridiculous.

AngelfireRN, MSN, RN, APRN

Specializes in med-surg, psych, ER, school nurse-CRNP. Has 15 years experience.

OK, maybe I'm still just too mad to think straight here, but, grieving or not, she had the option to say, "Hey, I can not do this right now."

She did not. She told us to give her something to do. We gave her ONE tiny part, out of ten, to write. She did not have to write a paper, she was asked to submit a paragraph to be a part of the paper. HER CHOICE, I stress that. I can not speak to how she was thinking.

And as to doing the best she could, well, cheating never is. She had a 3 week deadline for one paragraph. Then I had 4 days to pull the whole paper together.

Would I have resorted to plagiarism if my husband died? No, i would not. I would much rather turn in nothing or a poor paragraph that was my own work than cheat. Must just be my moral code. Sorry, I just don't buy the whole "blinded by grief" thing, especially when her excuse for not having referenced the paragraph was, "I had car troubles". Always an excuse. She's got sense enough to come up with that, she's got sense enough to do her own paragraph.

Oh, and "the best she could" could have gotten us all expelled, no matter the "circumstance".

I may sound harsh, but our group worked very hard, this woman had every courtesy extended to her, she chose not to take it, and then deliberately submitted someone else's work as her own.

Not nice at all.

No, I agree with you -- grief may be an excuse for not being able to function and not being able to get an assignment done, but it's not an excuse for dishonesty, academic or otherwise. There's a big difference between saying you're sorry, you're not going to be able to finish your part of the work (which I'm sure everyone in the group would have accepted graciously, under the circumstances), and turning in someone else's work as your own.

Did this person have tendencies in this "direction" (cutting corners, taking the easy way out) before the death of her partner?

AngelfireRN, MSN, RN, APRN

Specializes in med-surg, psych, ER, school nurse-CRNP. Has 15 years experience.

Nope, not at all....that was what was such a shocker...she had been a stellar student before that. She also knew that the papers would be run through turnitin and that surely to goodness it would catch the wikipedia stuff.

What fries me is the lying. You're right, we would have let her be sad and done it ourself, there was no need for her to do that. Fortunately, the teacher knew whose work was whose, so maybe the whole group won't suffer. The group leader and myself have apologized to the teacher, and she has told us that WE have nothing to apologize for. I wonder what that means for this other girl.

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