1 1 UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY COLLEGE OF NURSING PROFESSIONAL CODE OF CONDUCT Draft 21 (9/08/06) I. Introduction A) Purpose The University of Kentucky College of Nursing Professional Code of Conduct seeks to foster the highest standards of responsibility, integrity, and professionalism throughout our College community. This code is intended to positively impact the institutional culture and professional development of students enrolled at the UK College of Nursing. Lastly, this code establishes a mechanism to address suspected violations in a manner that is fair and consistent to the students, faculty, and other members of the College community. B) Recognition of Responsibility The students and faculty of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing subscribe to ethical standards that reflect our primary responsibility to the patient and which foster integrity and honor within the nursing profession. We recognize our great responsibility and accountability to society, other health care professionals, and ourselves, as we enjoy the privilege of providing for the health care needs of our patients. Therefore, we do hereby pledge to live within this Professional Code of Conduct. C) Additional Documentation Students and faculty of the UK College of Nursing are to understand and abide by the standards and policies contained in this code as well as any University or professional document as required by the College of Nursing or the University of Kentucky. These documents include but are not limited to The Health Sciences Student Professional Behavior Code, The University of Kentucky Hospital Chandler Medical Center Behavioral Standards in Patient Care, American Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Nurses, American Nurses Association Nursing Standards, National Student Nurses Association Code of Academic and Clinical Professional Conduct,Student Rights and Responsibilities, University of Kentucky Senate Rules, Kentucky Nursing Laws (KRS Chapter 314), and the University of Kentucky Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct. D) Intent and Scope The University of Kentucky College of Nursing Professional Code of Conduct is intended to engage its students and faculty in professional selfregulation in order to reinforce the principles of ethics and professional responsibility. The code applies to undergraduate students enrolled in the
2 2 Professional Nursing Curriculum, graduate nursing students, and faculty. This code is meant to be flexible and enforceable, allowing for mediation between individual parties. II. Behavioral Standards: Expected Behaviors Students and faculty of the College of Nursing are expected to uphold certain personal qualities throughout their experiences in the curriculum as well as in their professional pursuits. Examples of these qualities include empathy, integrity, honesty, dependability, good interpersonal skills, and selfmotivation to succeed. The following behaviors will foster a positive institutional culture and enhance opportunities for learning: A. Faculty-Student Relationships It is understood that students and faculty at the UK College of Nursing must work together to maintain the academic and professional standards of the nursing profession. We believe it is the dual responsibility of students and faculty to work together, as well as independently, in the attainment of student goals, facilitation of learning, and promotion of the nursing profession. Therefore, in order to achieve these goals, it is understood that a mutual respect and professional relationship must be present between students, faculty, and administration of the College of Nursing. It is the responsibility of every student, faculty member, and administrator of the college to honor this code by treating every individual with respect throughout the various settings involved in the curriculum. This includes but is not limited to clinical settings, classrooms, and social interactions. B. Student-Student Relationships Students enrolled in the College of Nursing are expected to treat each other with respect. We must accept the responsibility to interact with our peers in a manner that is respectful throughout the various settings in the curriculum. This includes but is not limited to clinical settings, classrooms, and social interactions. C. Students in the College of Nursing are expected to: Comply with this Code of Professional Conduct and other conduct codes of the College, Medical Center, and University, as well as conduct codes of clinical settings in which they have clinical practice. Comply with requirements in course syllabi and the College of Nursing policies as outlined in the applicable College of Nursing Handbook and as updated and posted for Undergraduate Students on the Policy Bulletin Board outside Student Services. Comply with the directives of a College or University official. Arrive punctually and prepared for clinical and other academic experiences or inform appropriate individuals in a timely fashion if unable to attend.
3 3 Accurately identify and represent self as a nursing student in all professional and clinical settings. Communicate academic and clinical information in a wholly truthful, timely and accurate manner, including timely reporting of omissions or errors in treatments and medications. Abstain from misappropriation or illegal use of drugs or other pharmacologically active agents. Abstain from the use of alcoholic beverages, illicit substances and/or any substance that may impair judgment while in the academic and clinical setting. Identify variables in own health state that would impair clinical performance and arrange for substitute clinical experiences as needed. Accept the moral, ethical and legal responsibility for own actions. Maintain patient/client confidentiality in all written, , internet, verbal and non-verbal communication, including pictures. Serve all patients/clients impartially and accept no personal compensation from those entrusted to their care. Strive for excellence by maintaining and promoting integrity, truthfulness and honor in all aspects of academic and clinical responsibilities. Uphold school policies and regulations related to academic and clinical performance. Refrain from any deliberate action or omission of care in the clinical setting that creates risk of injury to the patient/client, self, or others. Refrain from any deliberate action in the academic setting that creates risk of injury to self or others. Provide care for the patient/client in a timely, compassionate, and professional manner. Maintain professional boundaries with patients/clients. This includes, but is not limited to refraining from sexual or seductive conduct with patients/clients. Promptly report known violations of any professional standard by faculty or other nursing students to a College faculty, administrator or Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) Co-Chair. D. Faculty in the College of Nursing are expected to: Comply with this Code of Professional Conduct and other conduct codes of the College, Medical Center, and University, as well as conduct codes of clinical settings in which they have clinical practice. Arrive punctually and prepared for clinical and other academic experiences or inform appropriate individuals in a timely fashion if unable to attend. Accurately identify and represent self as a student nurse (or nursing faculty if appropriate) in professional and clinical settings. Communicate academic and clinical information in a wholly truthful, timely and accurate manner, including timely reporting of omissions or errors in treatments and medications.
4 4 Abstain from misappropriation or illegal use of drugs or other pharmacologically active agents. Abstain from the use of alcoholic beverages, illicit substances and/or any substance that may impair judgment while in the academic and clinical setting. Identify variables in own health state that would impair clinical performance/teaching and arrange for a substitute practitioner or substitute clinical supervision of students/alternate experiences as applicable. Accept the moral, ethical and legal responsibility for own actions. Maintain patient/client confidentiality in all written, , internet, verbal and non-verbal communication, including pictures. Serve all patients/clients impartially and accept no personal compensation from those entrusted to their care. Strive for excellence by maintaining and promoting integrity, truthfulness and honor in all aspects of academic and clinical responsibilities. Uphold school policies and regulations related to academic and clinical performance. Refrain from any deliberate action or omission of care in the clinical setting that creates risk of injury to the patient/client, self, or others. Refrain from any deliberate action in the academic setting that creates risk of injury to self or others. Provide care for the patient/client in a timely, compassionate, and professional manner. Maintain professional boundaries with patients/clients. This includes, but is not limited to refraining from sexual or seductive conduct with patients/clients. Promptly report known violations of any professional standard by other faculty or by nursing students to a College faculty, administrator or PCC Co-Chair. University Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct provide additional expectations for faculty behavior, as do the Kentucky Nursing Laws (KRS Chapter 314). Behavioral Standards: Unacceptable Behaviors Certain behaviors are detrimental to the learning or care environment and are labeled unacceptable in the College of Nursing as well as in professional practice. The following are definitions of unacceptable behaviors as determined by The University of Kentucky College of Nursing: A. Plagiarism Taking credit for someone else s work or ideas, stealing others results or methods, copying the writing of others without acknowledgement, or otherwise taking credit falsely. (See University Senate Rules, section ) B. Cheating
5 5 Cheating is defined by its general usage. It includes, but is not limited to, the wrongful giving, taking, or presenting of any information or material by a student with the intent of aiding himself/herself or another on any academic work which is considered in any way in the determination of the final grade. (See University Senate Rules, Section ) C. Falsification of Academic Records and Official Documents The actual or attempted falsification, theft, misrepresentation or other alteration or misuse of any official academic record of the University, specifically including knowingly having unauthorized access to such records or the unauthorized disclosure of information contained in such records, is a serious academic offense. As used in this context, "academic record" includes all paper and electronic versions of the partial or complete permanent academic record, all official and unofficial academic transcripts, application documents and admission and progression credentials, and all academic record transaction documents. ( See University Senate Rules, Section ) D. Falsification of Data Dishonesty in reporting results, ranging from sheer fabrication of data, improper adjustment of results, and gross negligence in collecting and analyzing data, to selective reporting or omission of conflicting data for deceptive purposes. E. Aiding and Abetting Dishonesty Providing material, information or assistance to another person with the knowledge or reasonable expectation that the material, information or assistance will be used to commit an act that would be prohibited by this Code or that is prohibited by law or another applicable code of conduct associated with the University of Kentucky. F. Assignments When any material is to be turned in for inspection, grading, or evaluation, it is the students responsibility to ascertain what cooperation between them, if any, is permitted by the instructor. It is a violation of this code for students to submit work that is not the result of their own labor and thought. G. Clinical Responsibilities The following are unacceptable behaviors in the clinical setting: Performing any technique or procedure, including medication administration, for which they are unprepared by education or experience and/or without faculty or preceptor approval. Any deliberate action or omission of care in the clinical setting that creates injury/risk of injury to the patient/client, self, or others. Behaviors that cause or may cause physical, verbal, mental, or emotional abuse to a patient/client.
6 6 III. Procedures for Handling Suspected Violations of the Professional Code of Conduct Overview This section describes how alleged violations of the code are to be handled. A short section on suspected faculty violations shows that these are moved quickly into the University procedures without investigation or hearing by the Professional Code Committee (PCC). The intent of the section on faculty is to provide several ways of reporting suspected faculty violations. The remainder of this section deals with procedures for handling suspected student violations. The following procedures are described: o Reporting o Investigation of reports o Hearings for charges found to have probable cause o Sanctions that may be imposed if charge upheld o Procedure if the charge not upheld o Appeal procedures o Records kept/not kept o Confidentiality o Evaluation of Professional Conduct Committee o Composition and selection of PCC and HC (Hearing Committee) o Communication with accused. Notification of the accused is covered in several components of Section III. In every case the accused will be notified by certified mail, regular mail, and . The notification will state only that the accused can expect an important communication by mail and certified mail; no specific information will be given by . Failure to Report: Failure of any student, faculty, or administrator of the College of Nursing to report a suspected violation is considered a violation of this code. A. Faculty as Suspected Violator 1. Reporting Suspected Faculty Violations Students, administrators, faculty, or staff observing a suspected faculty violation of this code have the duty and responsibility to report that violation using one of the following mechanisms: a. Report to Faculty Co-Chair of the Professional Code Committee (PCC) within 7 business days after the suspected violation. The Faculty Co-Chair will then notify the accused and the appropriate Assistant Dean of the College of Nursing within 2 business days after learning of the violation; OR b. Report to the appropriate Assistant Dean within 7 business days of the suspected violation. NOTE: A suspected faculty violation will never be reported to the full PCC, nor investigated or heard by the PCC.
7 7 2. Determination of Charges for Suspected Faculty Violation a. The Assistant Dean notifies the Dean within 2 business days b. The Dean appoints a tenured faculty member as Faculty Investigator who conducts the investigation, including input from the accused, and determines if evidence indicates that a violation has occurred (within 10 business days). c. Faculty wishing to admit to charge(s) found in the investigation will notify (within 5 business days) the Faculty Investigator, who will refer the case to the Dean for determination of disciplinary sanctions. d. If an accused faculty member suspected of a violation finds the charge(s) unfair, the Faculty Investigator will refer the faculty member to the applicable University process for violations in the areas of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sexual harassment, or illegal/unauthorized use of computing resources. In the case of other suspected violations processes will be used as outlined in the Behavioral Standards In Patient Care or the University of Kentucky Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct, whichever is most applicable for the suspected violation. B. Student as Suspected Violator 1. Reporting suspected student violations Upon observing a suspected student violation of this code, students, faculty, administrators, and staff have the duty and responsibility to report that violation to any faculty member or administrator or to one of the PCC Co- Chairs within seven business days. The faculty member or administrator receiving a report will forward a written description of the alleged incident and the witness(es) statement(s) to a PCC Co-Chair within two business days. 2. Determining severity of the alleged incident a. The Faculty Co-Chair will notify the student, the appropriate Assistant Dean, and complete the investigation of the accusation, including input from the accused within 10 business days. b. After a complete investigation, the PCC Co-Chairs will make one of the following determinations: i. The alleged incident is not a violation of the Profession Code of Conduct. 1. The student and all interested parties will be informed of the decision, all records related to the incident will be destroyed, and no further action taken. ii. The alleged incident is not a violation of the Profession Code of Conduct but does represent behavior that is not in accordance with College of Nursing policies or professional standards. 1. The student will be issued an informal admonition. An admonition is not considered a disciplinary sanction, but may be considered in any future hearings. 2. The findings will be reported in writing to the appropriate Assistant Dean and a copy of the informal admonition placed in the Professional Code File, a file separate from the student s record.
8 8 iii. 3. The student will sign the informal admonition recognizing that she/he has seen the findings and has received a copy of the informal admonition. 4. The student can request a PCC hearing of the incident. A written request for a hearing must be filed with the Faculty Co-Chair within 5 business days of the student s receipt of the informal admonition. The alleged incident is a violation of the Professional Code of Conduct. 1. The faculty Co-Chair submits a report of the incident to the appropriate Assistant Dean (for informational purposes) and initiates the hearing procedure. 2. Within 5 business days of the determination, the PCC Faculty Co- Chair will notify the student by certified letter, regular mail, and by . The certified letter will (i) inform the student of the accusation; (ii) provide the date, time, location of the hearing; (iii) include all written materials related to the accusation; and (iv) request a meeting with the student to describe the hearing procedure and to review the student s rights and responsibilities with respect to the hearing The letter sent by regular mail will inform the student that a certified letter containing important information has been sent and that it is the student s responsibility to assure receipt of the letter. The will inform the student that important information has been sent by mail. 3. The hearing date will be set at least 10 business days in advance of the scheduled receipt date of the certified letter. The student may request a continuance for just cause. 4. Prior to the hearing, the PCC Faculty Co-Chair requests records of any previous violations/sanctions (including formal admonitions: and minor offenses) from the Professional Code File at the College and from the Registrar. These records will be kept sealed unless and until the accused is found in violation. 3. Hearing a. The Co-Chairs convene a Hearing Committee and remind the Committee that student information and all hearing proceedings are confidential. b. If the accused fails or declines to appear at the hearing, the Hearing Committee will hear the case and make findings and recommendations without participation from the accused. Non-attendance shall not cause the Hearing Committee to presume that the charges will or will not be upheld. c. The student against whom the alleged incident is charged is initially presumed to be not in violation of the Professional Code of College of Nursing. Those present at the hearing include individuals directly involved in the alleged incident and witnesses requested by the PCC chairs or the accused student. The accused student may have a person
9 9 present to provide advice and/or support. The adviser may only counsel the student and may not actively participate in the hearing. If the alleged incident was reported to a faculty member or administrator, that person making the original report to the PCC will be present in the hearing, if possible. d. The hearing is tape recorded, except the closed session component. e. Hearing Procedure: i. The person bringing the allegation describes the incident without interruption. ii. Any additional witnesses are then asked to describe the incident without interruption. iii. After all testimony has been provided, the student is asked if he/she agrees with the accusations and is allowed to respond to the accusation without interruption. iv. Members of the Hearing Committee ask questions of each person as needed to obtain sufficient information to make a determination of whether a violation has occurred. v. At the conclusion of testimony, the accused and all witnesses leave the hearing room so the Hearing Committee can go into closed (untaped) session to discuss the evidence and render a decision. Witnesses are dismissed, but the accused is asked to wait nearby. vi. During the closed session the decision of whether or not the student is in violation is based on the greater weight of the evidence and is determined by a majority vote of the Hearing Committee. If a student is found in violation, the student s prior record of admonitions, minor offenses, or violations is opened and included in the determination of the appropriate sanction(s) (see Section 4). vii. Once the decision has been rendered, the accused is asked to return to the room, the tape recording is restarted, and the Student Co-Chair informs the student of the Hearing Committee s decision and any sanction imposed. The student is also informed of his/her right to appeal and that a formal letter outlining the findings will be sent to his/her home address by certified mail within 2 business days. viii. The hearing is then concluded and the recording stopped. ix. Within 2 business days after the hearing, the Faculty Co-Chair notifies the accused by certified mail. The Faculty Co-Chair will also notify the faculty involved, the appropriate Assistant Dean and the Dean of the College of Nursing. 4. Sanctions Educational sanctions can accompany any of the listed sanctions. Formal Reprimand
10 10 Disciplinary probation Disenrollment from the College of Nursing permanently or for a specified term Other sanctions, such as educational or experiential requirements that will promote students understanding of the issues involved. 5. Appeal An appeal to the Dean may be filed by the accused within 10 business days of the receipt of the Hearing Committee s decision by certified mail on the following grounds: Error of fact Lack of adherence to due process or Belief that sanction is too severe. The Dean shall not reverse the determination of the Hearing Committee as to whether or not a violation has occurred. The Dean may decide to impose a sanction which is less than, the same as, or greater than that imposed by the Hearing Committee. The Dean will inform the PCC Co-Chairs and notify the student by certified mail of the decision within 10 business days. The Faculty Co- Chair will notify the full PCC of the Dean s decision. 6. Records At the end of the hearing, all records pertaining to the incident are given to a College of Nursing staff person who will place them in the Professional Code File separate from the student s records. These records are confidential and retained for 5 years. If the student is not found to be in violation of the Professional Code, all records related to the hearing will be destroyed by the Faculty Co-Chair. 7. Confidentiality The proceedings are kept confidential and not shared with anyone outside of the committee except the student, the reporting person, the appropriate Assistant Dean, and when the student is found in violation, the Dean and any University officials designated by University rules. 8. Evaluation The PCC Co-Chairs will prepare an annual report of hearing actions that is submitted to the Dean. 9. Professional Code Committee A. The Professional Code Committee (PCC) will be chosen in September/ October of each academic year and will consist of the following members: Two faculty members, each with 5 years full-time experience as a faculty member (at least 3 years at UKCON), chosen by the Faculty Council to serve 2-year staggered terms, one of whom shall be designated to serve as Faculty Co-Chair and the other designated to serve as alternate Co-Chair.
11 11 Three graduate nursing student members, chosen by the Graduate Student Activities and Advisory Council in consultation with the Faculty Co- Chairs to serve a maximum of a 3-year term, at least one who has a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate coursework, one who is a first year student, and one from any level of graduate study. Three undergraduate nursing students, one from each year of the Professional Nursing Curriculum, chosen by the Undergraduate Nursing Activities and Advisory Council in consultation with the Faculty Co- Chairs to serve a maximum of a 3-year term. Student members chosen to sit on the PCC shall be in good academic standing within the College of Nursing as determined by the College of Nursing Student Affairs Office. Faculty with violation(s) of this code are not eligible for appointment to the PCC. B. The Faculty Co-Chair of the PCC will coordinate the appointment of student members and arrange an organizational meeting of members in September/October to review the Professional Code and its procedures and to select a student Co-Chair. C. When a hearing is needed, a Hearing Committee (HC) organized by the Faculty Co-Chair or designee (Ex-Officio) consisting of two graduate students, two undergraduate students, and chaired by the student Co-Chair will hear the case. Alternates will serve when a member in their category cannot attend. Any member who has a conflict of interest shall recuse themselves and their respective alternate will replace them. D. The Faculty Co-Chair (Ex-officio) will facilitate the hearing process by assuring procedures are followed, assisting with identification of possible sanctions, mediating when necessary, and acting as a general resource. Acknowledgement: Sections of this policy were modified from The Ohio State University College of Nursing Professional Misconduct Policy.