The WGU nursing programs set forth principles, standards and rules regarding proficiencies, dispositions and professional practice expected of the WGU nursing student and graduate, and describe the process for disciplinary action if a nursing student violates these principles, standards, and rules.
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. Professional Dispositions:
The student is expected to demonstrate the following dispositions appropriate to the field of nursing:
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:
Standard 3 – Alcohol or Drugs
Nursing students must refrain from the abuse of alcohol or drugs during the course of professional practice. Unethical conduct includes, but is not limited to:
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:
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:
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:
WGU further clarifies the policy of confidentiality with the following Keys to Confidentiality:
V. Violation of Ethics, Standards, or Disposition within WGU Nursing Programs:
Process for Disciplinary Action
Conduct unbecoming of a professional nurse can constitute valid reason for the faculty not to recommend a student for clinical placement or progression, licensure, or to recommend removal of the student from an educational program at WGU. Failure to adhere to the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics, WGU Standards of Conduct, or Professional Dispositions may result in disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the university in egregious instances.
Filing and Investigation of Concerns
A Concern alleging a violation of the standards of professional conduct described in this code may be submitted by a student, program mentor, course instructor, staff member, clinical instructor, lab instructor or clinical agency personnel. All Concerns must be submitted in writing to the Health Professions Success Center. All warnings and sanctions issued by the WGU Academic Authenticity Team will result in a concurrent investigation and possible sanctions from the Health Professions Success Center, based on the severity of the incident.
The Health Professions Success Center will categorize each concern according to the following rubric and notify the affected student.
The Health Professions Success Center will investigate each Concern within 10 business days to determine the appropriate manner in which to proceed.
A member of the Health Professions Success Center will contact the affected student by email to arrange a time to discuss each concern and attempt to resolve behavioral changes required to align the student’s conduct with the standards of professional conduct described in this code. If a student fails to respond to this meeting request within three business days, or if corrective behavioral changes cannot be agreed informally, the concern will become subject to corrective action.
Where Health Professions Success determines that there is sufficient evidence of one or more violations of the standards of professional conduct described in this code, they may (as applicable) work with the State Director of Nursing to suspend the student’s clinical participation during the corrective action process. A record of all corrective actions will be placed in the student’s file.
Students must respond to warning notices from Health Professions Success within 3 business days indicating either their intent to complete any required corrective action, or to appeal the warning to the Senior Manager of Clinical Experience, Health Professions, whose decision shall be considered final. Any student who fails to respond to a warning notice will be subject to the next-level remediation process. Decisions made in response to an appeal shall be considered final.
The Health Professions Success Coordinator may place a readmission hold on a student’s record when a student is withdrawn with an unresolved disposition concern.
VI. Student Rights
Students have the following rights pertaining to alleged and confirmed violations of the standards of professional conduct set forth in this code:
VII. Disciplinary Actions and Education Records
Records of concerns and corrective action will be maintained according to WGU policy regarding student disciplinary records as well as applicable state and federal laws concerning maintenance and disclosure of student information.
Code of Student Conduct
Academic Progress - Nursing Programs
Records Retention Policy
Article Number: 20500, 2489