Hot Topic: Was nursing student’s punishment fair?

(Concord Monitor) A story on the front page of the “Sunday Monitor” about a nursing student at NHTI drew considerable response from readers. Here’s a sampling:

No compromise on compassion

I read the story this weekend regarding the student nurse at NHTI and the school’s decision to suspend the student from the program for a basic character flaw (“A question of ethics,” Sunday Monitor front page, Dec. 9).

It sounded like a lot of miscommunication and not a basic character flaw on the part of the student nurse.

The nursing student thought she had permission to keep the set of surgical scrubs because she asked a hospital employee if she could keep them as a memento. The nursing instructor said the student did not ask the correct employee; therefore she accused the student of lying and stealing.

This situation could have been a teaching moment. It is not the duty of nursing instructors to “weed out” nursing students but to teach nursing students.

The instructor should have instructed the student on why taking the scrubs was a problem.

The student could have been requested to pay for the surgical scrubs (or return the surgical scrubs), along with a letter of explanation and apology. This would have been a lesson the student would never forget.

One of the most basic qualities a nurse should have is compassion, and the NHTI nursing program should show this student some compassion. The student needs to learn a lesson in this case, but the nursing program should not compromise on compassion.

SHARON WAREING

Concord

The appropriate ethical standard

I would like to applaud NHTI for holding its students to the appropriate ethical standard (“A question of ethics,” Sunday Monitor front page, Dec. 9).

In asking a staff member if she could keep the scrubs, Heather Stickney disregarded her professor’s instruction in professional conduct. The very idea of obtaining a “memento,” as if from a tourist destination, violates the trust that the focus should be on the patient, not on the staff, and certainly not on the student nurse.

It was not apparent anywhere in the article that Stickney took any responsibility for this “misunderstanding,” only that she seemed to feel that her having “exceptional” clinical skills put her above not only the accepted rules of the profession, but the law.

One nurse’s behavior has the power to harm the whole profession.

I hope that no nurse is admitted into the profession without a clear understanding of that important responsibility.

ERIN STEWART, RN, MSN

Concord

NHTI’s overly harsh penalty

Re “A question of ethics” (Sunday Monitor front page, Dec. 9):

I wonder if the Monitor would like to pursue this more fully; I think it would be great if it did. The appeals process doesn’t seem at all timely, and the administration of the School of Nursing at NHTI seems callous as to what the multiple effects of their decision can be.

Heather Stickney’s action probably did warrant a correction of some sort, but the penalty seems overly harsh. How often does the appeals board rule in favor of the student petitioner?

Nursing as a profession likes to talk about erasing the culture of horizontal violence. It would be nice to see that exemplified at the college level.

CATHY LINDSAY, RN

Pembroke

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