Students for Ethical Legal Issue In Nursing Education for Guidelines for Providing Due Process

Guidelines for Providing Due Process to Students, Due Process for Academic Issues, Documented Information for Both Students and Faculty, Updating Handbooks and Catalog Schematically, Proper Communication of Course, Record of all Academic s that are Planed of Have Proceeded, Access of Students to Academic Evaluation Data, Failure of Expected outcomes and Amendments Plans, Due Process for Disciplinary Issues In Nursing Education.

Guidelines for Providing Due Process to Students Due Process for Academic Issues

    The potential for litigation always exists, even in the best of circumstances; Therefore, it is prudent to take actions and establish policies that decrease the likelihood that litigation will occur as a result of academic failure or dismissal. 

    The following practices help keep students informed of faculty expectations and their progress in coursework, and provide the basis for ensuring that students receive the information they need.

1.Documented Information for Both Students and Faculty

    Provide a copy of student and faculty rights and responsibilities in formal documents. On admission to the program, students should be given a copy of rights, responsibilities, policies, and procedures that apply to students and faculty. Although institutions have the right to establish policies, they also have the responsibility to communicate those policies and guidelines to students and faculty. 

    Policies and procedures that are in effect for all students in the institution, as well as those that are specific to a program, should be available and must be congruent. Policies should address progression, retention, graduation, dismissal, grading, and conduct. Students should also be informed of circumstances that will interfere with progression and those that would result in termination from the program. 

    They should learn the process to follow in filing a grievance. These policies should be readily available and are usually published in faculty and student handbooks. Strategies that ensure that students have read and understand the information contained in these documents should be a part of the orientation process. 

    In every course, faculty should plan to reinforce this information, including providing specific expectations for the course. Written specifications of requirements should be contained in the course syllabus and discussed with students on the first day of class.

Updating Handbooks and Catalog Schematically

    Review and update policies in the handbook and catalog periodically. Published materials given to students and faculty should contain current information about academic policies and procedures. This serves to keep students and faculty informed about the policies and procedures they are subject to, and it is a requirement of institutional and program accreditation agencies. 

    Regular review by faculty of policies and procedures ensures that faculty are aware of current policies and increases the likelihood that they will be consistent in following them.

Proper Communication of Course 

   Course requirements and expectations should be clearly established and communicated at the beginning of the course. The course syllabus should explain course requirements, critical learning experiences, and faculty expectations of student performance to satisfactorily complete the course. 

    Schools commonly establish guidelines for information to be included in all syllabi developed for nursing courses, and faculty should follow these criteria. 

    A course syllabus should include the following information, at a minimum: description of the course, course objectives, course credit hours, faculty responsible for the course, class schedule, attendance policies, teaching strategies used in the course, topical outlines, evaluation tools and methods, due dates for assignments, late work policy, and standards that must be met for students to pass the course. 

    Many institutions also require that course syllabi include a statement about the need for students to notify faculty about desired accommodations for a disability. The syllabus for a course should be distributed on the first day of class to provide students the opportunity to understand and clarify course requirements.

Record of all Academic s that are Planed of Have Proceeded

    Retain all tests and written work in a file until the student has successfully completed at least the course requirements, and in some cases the program requirements. Student assignments, tests, and evaluations are invaluable, especially in cases of academic deficiency that may result in a student challenge. All evidence of a student’s performance in a class should be kept at least until that course is completed. 

    Faculty must be aware of institutional policy or standards that govern maintenance of records and should follow those. There are no universal rules for how long student files should be maintained, and the policy may vary from institution to institution. Student clinical evaluations often become a part of the student’s permanent file, although in some programs, these are only retained until the student completes the program. 

    The maintenance of files of student work and tests may also serve to decrease the likelihood of plagiarism of other students’ work. Knowing that faculty keep a copy of assignments and tests may make students less likely to attempt to claim other students’ work as their own. Files of student work may also serve as examples of assignments to share with evaluators during accreditation visits or to assist in outcome assessment efforts. 

    Samples of student work may also be used to provide positive examples to other students. Faculty must obtain a student’s permission to share his or her work with others. Some schools choose to have students sign a standard form granting such permission and to keep this on permanent file.

Access of Students to Academic Evaluation Data

    Students should have the opportunity to view all evaluation data that are placed in the student file. Students have the right to see all documentation that has been used to determine an evaluation of their performance. Students also have the right to disagree with the appraisal of their performance and should be provided with an opportunity to respond to the comments of the evaluation with comments of their own. 

    Faculty should ask students to sign and date the evaluation form to indicate that the evaluation has been discussed with them, while providing an opportunity for them to register their own comments on the form.

Failure of Expected outcomes and Amendments Plans 

    When students are not making satisfactory progress toward course objectives and the potential for course failure or dismissal exists, students must receive notification of and information about their academic deficiencies. Students should receive regular feedback about the progress they have made toward meeting class and clinical objectives throughout the course. 

    If deficiencies occur, students must receive details of what behavior is unsatisfactory, what needs to be done to improve the behavior, and the consequences if improvement does not occur. Faculty should hold formal conferences with students who are in academic competition, identify the deficiencies in writing, and work with the student to determine a plan to address the deficiencies. 

    Both the faculty member and the student should sign the document to indicate mutual involvement in and agreement to the plan. Subsequent follow-up conferences should be held to note progress or lack of progress made toward achieving the agreed-on goals and note revisions or additional strategies employed. All conferences should be documented in writing, and both parties should receive a copy of the documentation. 

    An example of how this might occur was presented in the earlier example relating to Jane Short. Faculty who fail to evaluate a student’s unsatisfactory performance accurately, through either a reluctance to expose the student to the experience of failure or a fear of potential litigation, are guilty of misleading the student, potentially jeopardizing patient care, placing faculty peers in a difficult situation , and potentially being subject to a claim of educational malpractice. 

    Nursing faculty and even the university are responsible for preparing safe and competent practitioners. When the faculty does not fulfill their responsibilities, they can be held liable for educational malpractice, because they are breaching their duty as an educator. Student deficiencies may eventually be identified and dealt with by subsequent faculty. 

    Students might legitimately ask why they were not notified earlier in the educational experience of these deficiencies and accuse the “failing” faculty of prejudicial behavior. It is much fairer to inform students of their unsatisfactory behaviors when such behaviors are first identified. 

    Informing students of deficiencies in a caring, constructive manner allows them the opportunity to improve performance; to not inform them denies them this opportunity and right. These procedures help ensure that students receive the due process related to academic failure that is their right by law. 

    Maintaining open lines of communication with a student who is not progressing is a key component in resolving such situations satisfactorily and decreasing faculty liability. Students are much less likely to sue if they perceive that they have been treated in a fair and impartial manner and have been given information throughout the process.

Due Process for Disciplinary Issues In Nursing Education

    Students who are dismissed because of misconduct or disciplinary reasons should receive additional assurances that due process has been followed. A disciplinary action occurs when a student violates a regulation or law or has engaged in activity that is not allowed.

    Disciplinary actions brought against the student need to include providing the student with a written copy of the accused violation. The information should include details about what policy or rule was violated, and enough information must be provided to ensure that the student can develop a defense against the charges. 

    Processes included within procedural due process include an impartial decision maker, notice of the charges and evidence against the student, an opportunity to appear before the decision maker, an opportunity to suggest witnesses, protection of the imposition of sanctions against the witnesses, and permitting the student to voluntarily accept discipline or the ruling of the decision-maker (A v. C. College, 1994). 

    If the student desires, legal counsel can be present to provide the student with advice but not to question or interview other participants in the proceedings. Legal counsel for the institution is usually available as well. No action should be taken by the faculty or university until a formal hearing has occurred. 

    Depending on the institution, a councilor committee usually decides the outcome of the charges. Courts may be more likely to become involved in disciplinary actions because they involve less professional judgment and evaluation.

    In the example presented earlier, if Jane Short’s absences continue in clinical and she misses enough clinical days that she is dismissed from the program, then the provision for due process as a disciplinary event must include more faculty action. 

    The faculty member must provide written information about the school policy that has been violated (although one hopes she has done that at the earlier conference) and provide an opportunity for Jane to respond to them accusations. 

    The process must provide an opportunity for Jane to present a defense for her actions or an opportunity to explain her actions to those persons who will make the final decision about the outcome of her situation. In this circumstance, because the issue is a disciplinary one, faculty must take additional steps to ensure that due process rights are protected.


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