Copeland, Darcy A.

Committee Member

Parker, Carlo G.

Committee Member

Pool, Natalie

Committee Member

Merchant, William R.


College of Natural Health and Sciences; School of Nursing, Nursing Education


University of Northern Colorado

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Place of Publication

Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



136 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Academic dishonesty in nursing education has been an ongoing concern to the nursing profession for many decades. There is a concern that students who engage in academic dishonesty in the classroom setting might also engage in dishonest behaviors in the professional setting. Many studies in the literature explored nursing students’ perceptions of academic dishonesty during nursing education; however, there was limited literature on novice nurses’ perceptions of academic dishonesty and its impact on the nursing profession. Novice nurses provided the voice of recent nursing students as well as the voice of a professional nurse. The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe novice registered nurses’ perceptions of academic dishonesty during prelicensure nursing education, the types of behaviors novice nurses perceived as dishonest, and their perceptions of the impact of dishonest behaviors on nursing professionalism. Seven participants from across the United States were interviewed via Zoom using a semi-structured interview guide. Data analysis was conducted utilizing Braun and Clarke’s (2022) six-phase approach to thematic analysis. Three themes and five subthemes emerged from the analysis. The following themes emerged during analysis: (a) perceptions of academic dishonesty, (b) perceptions of professionalism, and (c) perceptions of the impact of academic dishonesty on the nursing profession. Most participants in this study had negative attitudes toward academic dishonesty, yet also expressed understanding of why people might engage in dishonest behaviors. Participants also described many grey areas surrounding academic dishonesty. A significant finding of this study was while most of the participants perceived academic dishonesty as having a negative impact on the nursing profession, there was no consensus on what professionalism meant to novice nurses. Most participants believed dishonest behaviors during nursing education could lead to dishonest behaviors in their professional practice, which could lead to poor patient outcomes. Nurse educators could use this information to clarify expectations around academic and professional integrity and to help inform curriculum development around professional identity formation.

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