CHP Nursing Code of Professional Conduct and Dispositions

I.  Department of Nursing Mission 

The mission the Department of Nursing is to make a positive difference in the lives of our students and the practice of nursing through a professionally supported, competency-based and student-focused learning model for working adults that promotes success in educational goals and sustained professional commitment. The Department of Nursing is committed to the formation of confident, caring, and competent professional nurses prepared to meet emerging healthcare needs of diverse populations. 


II. Proficiencies, Dispositions and Professional Practice
In keeping with Department of Nursing’s mission, nursing students and graduates of WGU’s nursing programs are expected to have the needed proficiencies and to demonstrate the professional dispositions appropriate to the field of nursing. Nursing students and graduates are expected to follow the principles described in the following policies: 

ANA Code of Ethics
ANA’s Principles for Social Networking for Nurses


III. Ethical Standards

WGU follows the ethical standards set forth by the American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics. These standards are as follows:



  1. The nurse, in all professional relationships, practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth and uniqueness of every individual, unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of health problems.
  2. The nurse's primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, or community. 
  3. The nurse promotes, advocates for and strives to protect the health, safety, and rights of the patient. 
  4. The nurse is responsible and accountable for individual nursing practice and determines the appropriate delegation of tasks consistent with the nurse's obligation to provide optimum patient care. 
  5. The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to preserve integrity and safety, to maintain competence and to continue personal and professional growth. 
  6. The nurse participates in establishing, maintaining and improving health care environments and conditions of employment conducive to the provision of quality health care and consistent with the values of the profession through individual and collective action. 
  7. The nurse participates in the advancement of the profession through contributions to practice, education, administration, and knowledge development. 
  8. The nurse collaborates with other health professionals and the public in promoting community, national, and international efforts to meet health needs. 
  9. The profession of nursing, as represented by associations and their members, is responsible for articulating nursing values, for maintaining the integrity of the profession and its practice and for shaping social policy.


IV.  Standards of Conduct
WGU has further defined the proficiencies, dispositions and professional standards expected in the field of nursing and of WGU Nursing students as follows:
Standard 1 – Criminal Acts
In addition to the Nurse Practice Act of the state in which they practice, WGU nursing students shall abide by federal, state, and local laws and statutes. Unethical conduct includes, but is not limited to: 


The commission of or conviction for a felony or misdemeanor offense, including DUI/BUI, but excluding minor traffic violations such as speeding, following too closely, and improper lane changes, as used herein, “conviction” includes a finding or verdict of guilt, a plea of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendere. Students have an obligation to report convictions to the nursing department.
Standard 2 – Abuse of Patients
A student should always maintain a professional relationship with all patients, both in and outside a clinical setting. Unethical conduct includes, but is not limited to:


  • Committing any act of abuse (physical or emotional) or any act of cruelty or patient endangerment.
  • Committing or soliciting any unlawful sexual act or committing any act of sexual harassment.
  • Soliciting, encouraging, or consummating a romantic or inappropriate relationship with a patient (including dating a student), whether written, verbal, physical, or implied.
  • Furnishing alcohol or illegal/unauthorized drugs to any patient.
  • Encouraging, promoting, extolling, or supporting any illegal, unethical, inappropriate, or dangerous activity.

Standard 3 – Alcohol or Drugs
Nursing students must refrain from the use of alcohol or drugs during the course of professional practice. Unethical conduct includes, but is not limited to:


  • Being on clinical premises or at a WGU-sponsored activity while under the influence of, possessing, using, or consuming alcohol or performance altering drugs.
  • Additional information can be found in the Nursing Student Impairment Policy.

Standard 4 – Misrepresentation or Falsification
Nursing students must exemplify honesty and integrity in the course of professional practice. Unethical conduct includes, but is not limited to:


  • Falsifying, deliberately misrepresenting, or omitting professional qualifications, college credit and/or degrees, academic awards, and employment history when applying for enrollment.
  • Falsifying, deliberately misrepresenting, or omitting information in patient care documentation/medical records.
  • Falsifying, deliberately misrepresenting, or omitting reasons for absences or leaves.
  • Students are held to the standards of the WGU Academic Authenticity policy.

Standard 5 – Improper Remunerative Conduct
Nursing students must maintain integrity with patients, family members, colleagues, patrons, or businesses when accepting gifts, gratuities, and favors. Unethical conduct includes, but is not limited to:


  • Soliciting patients, or friends/family members of patients, to purchase any item or service from a nursing student in a private remunerative capacity.
  • Accepting gifts from patients and/or friends/family members , vendors, or potential vendors for personal use or gain where there may be the appearance of a conflict of interest.
  • Providing nursing care outside of WGU-scheduled or approved clinical time while representing self as a WGU nursing student.

Standard 6 – Confidential Information
Nursing students must comply with state and federal laws and clinical agency policies relating to the confidentiality of patient care records, unless disclosure is required or permitted by law. Unethical conduct includes, but is not limited to:


  • Sharing of confidential information concerning health and medical information and any identifying patient information.

WGU further clarifies the policy of confidentiality with the following Keys to Confidentiality:


  • Do not discuss patients or any identifying data in public settings such as cafeterias, elevators, hallways, over the phone, with family or friends, with other patients or where patients might overhear conversations.
  • Discussion of patients should only occur in approved settings such as giving or taking reports or in a clinical conference.
  • Use patient initials in all discussions and on written documents. Destroy all notes and computer-generated papers after completing assignments.
  • Protect the integrity of medical records and do not copy or transmit material from medical records.
  • If you have concerns about client confidentiality, check with your instructor to obtain guidance.
  • Along with failure to exhibit critical behaviors that reflect the professional standards for legal/ethical conduct, major infractions of conduct and behavior as set forth in the general University catalog will be grounds for dismissal from the nursing program. These include, but are not limited to, consumption of alcoholic beverages before or during clinical; illegal drug usage; impaired behavior; abusive language, and/or disruptive behavior with mentors, instructors or agency staff.


In addition, WGU CHP students are held to the CHP Code of Professional Conduct and Dispositions  and Code of Student Conduct


The process for disciplinary action for the College of Health Professions can be found here.

Associated Policies 
Code of Student Conduct
Academic Progress - Nursing Programs
Records Retention Policy

Academic Authenticity
CHP Code of Professional Conduct and Dispositions


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‎10-15-2018 10:53 AM
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