Crossing the “line”: College students and academic integrity in nursing

Margaret W. Bultas, Ashley D. Schmuke, Renée L. Davis, Janice L. Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background Researchers have shown a relationship between academic integrity in the classroom and acts of dishonest behavior in the clinical setting which is concerning for nursing faculty and the health care field. Objectives The purpose of this study was to compare the attitudes toward academic integrity and the frequency of behaviors related to academic dishonesty in nursing and non-nursing students at a religiously affiliated institution. Design A cross-sectional, descriptive design was used to collect data regarding the knowledge, behavior, perceptions, and attitudes related to academic integrity via an online survey. Settings and Participants Nursing students and non-nursing students who attended a religiously affiliated (Jesuit) University in the United States were surveyed for this study. Results Results of the study suggest upper division and second degree nursing students are less tolerant and more condemnatory of cheating than younger students. Frequent dishonest classroom behaviors include asking and telling other students what was on the exam while the most frequent dishonest clinical behaviors included documenting findings that were not assessed or findings that were false. Conclusion Recommendations for nursing faculty include frequent and timely discussion of expected behaviors and values of nurses in order to support students’ development of honesty and integrity beyond the classroom and into the clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-62
Number of pages6
JournalNurse Education Today
StatePublished - Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic dishonesty
  • Academic integrity
  • Cheating
  • Examinations
  • Nursing education


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