Professional honesty in medicine is a vital factor in providing high-quality healthcare. Trusting clinicians and nurses with health, the patient must be sure that medical care will be provided at the highest level. In order to prepare high-quality medical professionals, the principles of honesty and integrity should be inculcated during the education period. Nursing students gain a clear understanding of the level of honesty, integrity, and professionalism that they will be supposed to show during their future practices through academic integrity.
The future integrity in the professional activities of nursing students is directly connected with the academic integrity they show in completing their assignments. Academic integrity is a set of values and principles that express a student’s honesty in learning when doing written work, answering exam questions, and researching particular issues (Chin & Devine, 2018). Based on the practical experiments, students often have an unclear perception of academic integrity and its role in their future professional development (Chin & Devine, 2018). Students often lack a clear understanding of why they should develop academic integrity in their works. As a result, they try different cheating methods to avoid complicated study-related activities. Such a perception of academic integrity is believed to be developed in schools (Barbier et al., 2019). Therefore, nursing schools should provide unique strategies to provide the students with a clear understanding of integrity principles and their role in the nursing profession.
From the professional nursing perspective, the violation of integrity is related to the non-compliance to the license responsibilities. Academic integrity violation of nursing students is defined differently. Within the scope of the scholarly works, it can be identified as an “honorable choice of students” (Chin & Devine, 2018, p. 135). In other words, the academic integrity of nursing students includes honest classroom, clinical, and interpersonal behaviors (Chin & Devine, 2018). The first aspect addresses the conscious preparation for classes. The second emphasizes the responsible managing of clinical practices. The last one highlights the respect for the rights and freedoms of students in interpersonal communication. Nursing schools help students develop the discipline and responsibility necessary for future practice.
There are various possibilities and methods to enhance academic integrity in nursing schools. Barbier et al. (2019) believe that the teachers’ special training and constant support is a minimum that should be provided in nursing schools. Such an approach can be realized through the implementation of discipline, where the principles of academic integrity will be discussed (Barbier et al., 2019). Moreover, the researchers highlight that nursing schools should help students to comprehend the importance of integrity in their profession (Chin & Devine, 2018). Therefore, it should not be presented as a mere set of rules to be followed. Barbier et al. (2019) offer to advance the teachers-students discussion on the topic of academic and professional integrity. The thoughtful analysis of the rules and their usefulness in nursing practice can contribute to the creation more honest educational culture.
It is also vital to provide a positive learning environment to keep students motivated to study. The integrity violation within the educational process is less severe when students have advanced learning opportunities and a structured curriculum (Barbier et al., 2019). Thus, nursing schools are responsible for evaluating the academic integrity of students. Moreover, the education organizations should provide a good learning environment for the realization of academic integrity.
There is a direct correlation between academic integrity and the professionalism of licensed nurses. The practical research showed that the lack of intellectual integrity provokes severe violations in the future practice (Barbier et al., 2019). Such a situation leads to significant problems in the healthcare sphere. Scientists believe that such a situation is caused by the students’ wrong perception of academic integrity (Barbier et al., 2019). Based on that, the researcher pointed out that the education sphere, in general, is perceived as having a low level of significance. Students often correlate medical sciences with other disciplines (Barbier et al., 2019). This means that the whole academic education integrity should be enhanced. The integrity support in the medical sphere may also be efficient. However, maximum productivity can be gained through the collaborative development of academic integrity in general.
The principle of academic integrity should take a central place in the value system of any educational institution, especially in the field of medicine. This principle is extremely positive, forming proper behavior of students and teachers. Academic integrity allows teachers to give knowledge based on honesty, independence, and respect for students, which will lead to substantial positive results in medical treatment outcomes. In order to minimize the lack of professional integrity of nursing practitioners, changes in academic and educational fields should be made. Nursing schools should pay special attention to the topic of academic integrity, providing training and support for the students. The rational choice will be to implement the professional integrity and ethics disciplines into the curriculum. Therefore, enhancing academic integrity contributes to better nursing practice and the development of healthcare in general.
Barbier, M., Ingles, J., Keener, T., Peralta, M., Smith, L., Swager, L., & Wen, S. (2019). Student and faculty perceptions: Appropriate consequences of lapses in academic integrity in health sciences education. BMC Medical Education, 19(209), 1–9. Web.
Chin, E., & Devine, C. (2018). Integrity in nursing students: A concept analysis. Nurse Education Today, 60, 133–138. Web.