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1. https://www.nursingworld.org/coe-view-only/coe-view-only. American Nurses Association (2015). Code of ethics for Nurses with interpretive statements.


2. American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

· Chapter 1, “Writing for the Behavioral and Social Sciences”

· Section 1.10, “Plagiarism and Self-Plagiarism”

· Chapter 4, “The Mechanics of Style”

· Chapter 6, “Crediting Sources (Quoting and Paraphrasing)”

· Section 6.01, “Plagiarism”

· Section 6.02, “Self-Plagiarism”

· Chapter 7, “Reference Examples”


3. Bahrieni, F., Azodi, P. Hajivandi, A. & Jahanpour, F. (2017). The effect of education in nurse’s moral sensitivity. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, 9(10), 1817-1821. http://jpsr.pharmainfo.in/Documents/Volumes/vol9Issue10/jpsr09101735.pdf.


4. Ethics Education in Nursing: Instruction for Future Generations of Nurses. Retrieved from: http://ojin.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Vol-23-2018/No1-Jan-2018/Ethics-Education-in-Nursing.html.


5. Plagiarism

Plagiarism is when an author represents someone else’s intellectual property as his or her own work. Authors are most commonly at risk of plagiarizing when they fail to adequately cite the original source material from which they took words and ideasPlagiarism can occur in many forms and can range from a lack of citations toincorrect paraphrasing or actual direct copy and pasting of a source’s phrasing into another author’s own paper.

To avoid plagiarism, Walden students should follow the rules the American Psychological Association (APA) has set forth. APA asks that authors follow formatting and frequency guidelines to cite all sources that they have used in a paper. Citing sources helps authors in three ways:

· Gives credit to sources authors are quoting and paraphrasing;

· Tells the reader when authors are using sources to support ideas; and

· Directs the reader to the reference list and the full publication information for sources.

Avoiding plagiarism by properly citing sources helps both the author and the reader. Without citations, the reader:

· Will not know what sources the author is using;

· Will think all of the paper consists of onlythe author’s ideas;

· Will think that the author is not basing his or her ideas on research, but on opinion; and

· Will not follow how the author learned information in the paper.

If you think about the benefits properly citing sources gives the author and the reader, it makes sense that scholars would want to be as conscientious about citing as possible.  Citing sources maintains the author’s integrity, creates credibility for the author, shows the author is engaging in scholarship, and avoids plagiarism.



Emeritus Professor Alan Glasper, from the University of Southampton, discusses the worrying media reports that suggest that large numbers of student nurses are cheating their way onto the professional register


Graph: bjon.2016.25.16.932_f01.jpg


In July 2016 broadsheet newspapers such as The Daily Telegraph ran a series of high-profile stories suggesting that significant numbers of student nurses were entering the professional nursing register after committing breaches of academic integrity. It is concerning that the reputation of nursing should be tarnished by headlines such as: ‘Thousands of student nurses cheating their way through training’ ([ 2]).


Public perceptions

In 1854, when Florence Nightingale took her 38 nurses to the military hospital on the island of Scutari in the Bosporus, nurses had a poor reputation in the eyes of the public. This is exemplified by Charles Dickens’ characterisation of a drunken and patient-abusing nurse with low morals, Sarah Gamp, in his novel Martin Chuzzlewit, first published in 1844. It was to be many years before the negative stereotypical image of nurses changed, and still today many see Dickens’ caricature as an accurate portrayal of pre-Nightingale nursing. [12] cited one of the Victorian campaigners for nursing reform at the outset of the Crimean war, who movingly said ‘let it cease to be a disgrace to be called a nurse’. Nightingale set about trying to improve the status of nursing by seeking to change the perception of the public. In this context she was spectacularly successful and ‘the lady with the lamp’ soon became the new face of the nursing profession. [ 9] encapsulated Nightingale’s vision for nursing as one that was based on a calling or vocation, although later nurse leaders such as Bedford Fenwick sought to change this image for one based on scientific enquiry.


A vision for moralistic nursing

Nightingale had much opposition when setting up the school of nursing at St Thomas’s Hospital in London in 1860. [ 1] described how she insisted that all of the student nurses must be above reproach. The first 15 students were carefully selected following stringent vetting processes. The selected few were intended to be missionaries to spread the new gospel of nursing, and character formation and morality were foremost in the training process. To attain these primary objectives of nursing education combined with high moral standing, the students were accommodated on a separate floor of the hospital and this nurses’ home became a template for other training schemes as they were rolled out across the country. Although Nightingale’s concept of the nurses’ home was rooted in preserving the moral reputation of the student nurses, she did not believe nursing was a religious vocation and instead wanted to attract to the emerging profession intelligent women with the correct aptitude.


The nurses’ home concept became commonplace, with every training hospital having one within the grounds. Some readers will reminisce about eluding the attentions of the home sisters who were appointed to safeguard the morality of the students. Matrons and senior nurses of those days operated in loco parentis, and were aware of their legal responsibility to the student nurses and cadets.


Contemporary nurse training

Although there are still nurses’ homes in some hospitals, many have long since vanished and today’s undergraduate student nurses live in university accommodation, their own homes or in private rented accommodation. No longer are the majority of student nurses school leavers; many are mature people, with an average age of 29, often with families of their own, and many have already graduated with non-nursing degrees or have previous work experience ([ 3]).


To become a registered nurse, all students undertake a programme of study in an accredited educational institution, usually a university, which is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Throughout the UK this involves completing a degree-level programme in one of four fields of practice, i.e. adult, children’s, learning disabilities or mental health nursing. The successful completion of the undergraduate programme leads to an academic award of at least the level of a Bachelor’s degree and professional registration as a first-level nurse. The NMC insists that all preregistration courses must be 3 years long and comprise 4600 hours, divided between 50% theory and 50% clinical practice in a range of acute and primary care settings.


Student assessment

Following the creation of the nursing register in 1919, entry to the profession was predicated on the successful passing of unseen state examinations. The state examinations are no longer in place, but the NMC has developed a series of sophisticated systems to ensure that student nurses are fit for practice, fit for purpose and fit for the academic award. These include the production of detailed educational standards for preregistration training ([ 8]) where all students following the approved programmes are required to meet these standards before registration and detailed standards to support the learning and assessment of student nurses in practice settings ([ 6])


Within these detailed standards are specific requirements related to the assessment of students where the NMC expects accredited educational institutions to ensure that a variety of assessments are used to test the acquisition of the prescribed programme outcomes. Some institutions use objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) to assess nursing students, and [11] argued that, when used carefully, these practical assessments can gauge knowledge and competence in nursing students.


The NMC expects the institution to include at least one unseen invigilated examination in the assessment processes and where theoretical achievements cannot be used as compensation for poor practice assessment. There is also the expectation of equal weighting in the assessment of practice and theory—that both contribute equally to the final award leading to registration.


For the assessment of practice the NMC is well aware that the mentor is pivotal to the success of any nursing programme and it is for this reason that all programmes have sufficient numbers of qualified mentors to support the students in the practice areas. Both of these sets of standards have been formulated primarily to protect the public and the NMC insists that institutions that provide nursing programmes ensure that no student’s activity either theoretically or practically puts a service user at risk. Hence all programme providers must have systems in place to safeguard service users during any student learning activities. This includes having a robust system for identifying and addressing any concerns about the conduct of any student in training. Cheating of any type should trigger a fitness-to-practise investigation by the institution.


During any approval of a programme that leads to registration or during a periodic review of the programme provider, NMC-appointed reviewers, who act as officers for the regulator, subject the programmes and the systems that underpin them to significant and detailed scrutiny. Programmes are only approved when all of the NMC standards are fully met including the fitness-to-practise procedures operated by the institution.


Procedures for detecting breaches of academic integrity

The NMC guide for students of [ 5] stated that students were not professionally accountable for their actions or omissions, although the regulator did point out that students may be called to account by the university or the law.


It is for this reason that the NMC expects the educational institutions to act on their behalf in maintaining the academic integrity of the nursing courses being offered that lead to registration and all must provide evidence that they have fitness-to-practise committees. The NMC expects the institution to call a student to account if their behaviour or competence gives rise to concern about their overall suitability to join the nursing register.


The [ 7] guide for student nurses specifically discussed cheating or plagiarising and this included:


Cheating in examinations, coursework, clinical assessment or record books

Forging a mentor or tutor’s name or signature on clinical assessments or record books

Passing off other people’s work as your own.

These documents are no longer available on the NMC website, and instead the NMC points students to the Code and standards and guidance related to it.


What is the scale of cheating among student nurses?

The news that 1700 students nurses have been found to be cheating by their host universities over the past 3 years highlights the growing problem of plagiarism and other forms of cheating, including the submission of academic work purchased by student nurses from dedicated ‘essay writing’ websites. The newspaper headlines suggest that student nurses are more likely to resort to cheating than other university students with, for example, the University of Dundee reporting that nearly half of the students disciplined between 2010 and 2013 were nurses ([ 2]). However, it is clear that the academic institutions concerned do have polices and procedures in place to ensure that student nurses have passed all parts of their courses legitimately before they are put forward for registration.


Academic cheating does not only concern nursing students, and in January 2016 The Times newspaper reported that British universities were experiencing a plagiarism epidemic pertinent to 50 000 students over a 3-year period ([ 4]).


On closer examination, although 1700 nursing students were found guilty of breaches of academic integrity over a 3-year period, figures from the [10] show that over the same time period educational institutions trained approximately 64 000 nurses. With only about 2.6% of these student nurses committing acts of cheating it can be postulated that the institutions concerned have robust systems for weeding out the cheats.


Any negative reports of the academic activities of student nurses do inevitably impinge on the public’s perceptions of nurses, perhaps in the same way as those that followed the fictional accounts of nurse Sarah Gamp in the middle of the 19th century. However, it should be recognised that the vast majority of student nurses are a credit to their future profession.

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Key Points

Recent newspaper headlines have shown that many student nurses have been found guilty of attempting to cheat their way onto the register

When state examinations for nurses were abandoned the nursing regulator developed a series of sophisticated systems to ensure that student nurses continued to be fit to practise

Despite the banner headlines, in reality the vast majority of student nurses do not resort to cheating


1 Baly ME (1995) Nursing and Social Change. 3rd edn. Routledge, London


2 Bodkin H (2016) Thousands of student nurses cheating their way through training, universities reveal. The Telegraph, 19 July. http://tinyurl.com/hu28lw5 (accessed 17 August 2016)


3 Ford S (2011) Plans for new student nurse bursary system revealed. NursingTimes.net, 19 July http://tinyurl.com/jdz23qq (accessed 17 August 2016)


4 Mostrous A, Kenber B (2016) Universities face student cheating crisis. The Times, 2 January. http://tinyurl.com/heb2rdn (accessed 23 August 2016)


5 Nursing and Midwifery Council (2002) An NMC Guide for Students of Nursing and Midwifery. http://tinyurl.com/hwczbd4 (accessed 23 August 2016)


6 Nursing and Midwifery Council (2008) Standards to Support Learning and Assessment in Practice. http://tinyurl.com/hsvg48d (accessed 17 August 2016)


7 Nursing and Midwifery Council (2009) Guidance on Professional Conduct for Nursing and Midwifery Students.. http://tinyurl.com/zye6fmv (accesesd 23 August 2016)


8 Nursing and Midwifery Council (2010) Standards for Pre-registration Nursing Education. http://tinyurl.com/z5r9z4c (accessed 17 August 2016)


9 Rafferty AM (1995) Art, science and social science in nursing: occupational origins and disciplinary identity. Nursing Inquiry 2 (3): 141 – 8


Royal College of Nursing (2013) Frontline First: Nursing on Red Alert. April. http://tinyurl.com/zhbktyt (accessed 23 August 2016)


Rushforth H (2007) Objective structured clinical examination (OSCE): Review of literature and implications for nursing education. Nurse Educ Today 27 (5): 481 – 490


Summers A (1989) The mysterious demise of Sarah Gamp: the domiciliary nurse and her detractors, c. 1830-1860. Victorian Studies 32 (3): 365 – 86