The field of nursing Plagiarism

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The nursing profession necessitates moral and ethical practitioners. Due to insufficient preparation, nursing students have embraced dishonest academic methods in their academic projects over time. This study examines plagiarism as an academic malpractice that all nursing students must avoid. Several students created this vise with little care for the implications. The well-known example of Professor Ward Churchill serves as a warning about the consequences of plagiarism on an individual's employment. Issues like as accurate citing of scholarly literature and paraphrase are seen as critical components of avoiding plagiarism. Timely preparation, reviewing of scholarly works and using institution recommended software to check plagiarism are important aspects of avoiding plagiarism.

Plagiarism in Nursing


The numbers of cases of academic dishonesty have seen a steady increase over the past few years (Fontana, 2009). Longitudinal studies in the area of ethics in academics among students have revealed the fact that the cases of dishonesty take different forms. The two known forms of academic dishonesties are plagiarism and cheating in tests. Plagiarism is defined as an academic malpractice in which the ideas and words of another person are used in scholarly works without seeking the consent of the person considered to be the original owner of these ideas and words (Farooq and Haroon, 2016). Being a serious form of intellectual theft, plagiarism is punished by law. Academic institutions all over the world have come up with their own policies of dealing with this menace as it is a clear violation of the code of ethics established by these institutions. According to Langone (2007), there is a relationship between unethical practices among students training as future nurses with their future behaviors as practicing nurses. For this reason, it is of great benefit to make these students aware of the role played by ethical behavior in training and how it affects their professional lives. This paper analyses plagiarism as an academic menace based on its definition, a famous case of this vise and its consequences while elaborating the most effective ways in which nursing students can avoid it.

Famous Case of Plagiarism

One of the famous cases of plagiarism in the recent past involved Ward Churchill a professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado. In his efforts to write an essay on the September 11 bombing that took place at the World Trade Center building in the United States of America, the professor referred to the people working in this historical building as “little Eichmanns”. This was a similar term used by Nazi Adolf Eichmann in the “architect of Holocaust”. Since the term used by the professor was interpreted by the public as being very harsh, the University of Colorado started the process of probing the “academic works” of the professor. The investigations found Professor Ward Churchill guilty of academic misconduct after the investigating body concluded that Ward had plagiarized and presented false information in his historical writings. This event made Ward lose his job and was fired in 2007 (Farooq and Haroon, 2016).

Why it is Important for Nursing Students not to Plagiarize

Based on the delicate nature of human life and the critical roles played by nurses as key caregivers, students of nursing must uphold high levels of ethics. Plagiarism as an offense is punishable by law. Being an act of dishonesty, plagiarism is considered to go against the strong morals needed from all students of nursing. An unethical nursing student has a higher probability of breeding this behavior even as a professional in the field (Mc Cabe, 2009). Since unethical behaviors in classrooms are highly related to the unethical behaviors in clinical practice, nurses must avoid plagiarism to cushion themselves from harsh consequences like losing their jobs and confrontations due to investigations at work. Langone (2007) indicates that most nursing students fall victims of plagiarism by copying sentences without referencing them in a proper way.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

While plagiarism has become a critical academic offense, it can be avoided in a number of ways. First, nursing students need to keep track of the sources they use in scholarly works particularly if they are electronic in nature. This could be done by saving the particular pages used with the URL being quoted properly.

Paraphrasing is one of the most effective ways of avoiding plagiarism. In this case, the writer reads and understands what a piece of scholarly presents and writes it in an entirely new way based on wordings and style. Direct quotations from any written source must be properly cited to avoid plagiarism (Farooq and Haroon, 2016). By doing this, the writer acknowledges the writer of the original content. Further, readers are able to distinguish one’s original works from those derived from other sources.

Proper review of scholarly works plays a significant role in ensuring that all sources are cited in a proper way. Most institutions provide their students with plagiarism checking accounts. Nursing students could take advantage of these accounts based on the requirements of their institutions at the review stage to check plagiarism. Lastly, nursing students must undertake thorough research before starting their projects. Early and timely preparation goes a long way in preventing vices like copying other students’ scholarly works.


In conclusion, plagiarism has become a menace in academic research. Nursing students must strive to avoid this unethical behavior because of the moral nature of this field as a reason of avoiding the consequences associated with this flaw. Paraphrasing and direct quotations with proper citations are important aspects of avoiding plagiarism.


Farooq, U., & Haroon, M. Z. (2016). Plagiarism in scientific writing. Journal of Ayub Medical College Abbottabad, 26(4).

Fontana, J. S. (2009). Nursing faculty experiences of students’ academic dishonesty. Journal of Nursing Education, 48(4), 181-185.

Langone, M. (2007). Promoting integrity among nursing students. Journal of Nursing Education, 46(1).

McCabe, D. L. (2009). Academic dishonesty in nursing schools: An empirical investigation. Journal of Nursing Education, 48(11), 614-623.

May 10, 2023

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