Nursing students invest lots of time, energy, and money into their education—and it's little wonder. The nursing profession itself is a challenging one, requiring a great deal of passion, diligence, and stamina, so it stands to reason that nursing school can be equally challenging to ensure students are up to the task. When a nursing student faces dismissal, the fallout can be devastating to their career prospects, to say the least.
Unfortunately, not every nursing school dismissal is fair or just. Nursing is a public trust, and schools feel the pressure every day to produce graduates that are equal to that trust. Occasionally, the students themselves, for a variety of reasons, become victims of that pressure and end up being dismissed for a variety of reasons that could have been averted. If your future in nursing school has been jeopardized for any reason, having an experienced attorney advisor can greatly improve your chances for a positive resolution.
The Difficult Consequences of Dismissal from Nursing School
Being dismissed from nursing school has the potential to derail the nursing student's career prospects completely. It's not necessarily the “kiss of death” for a nursing career, but it can throw up a whole array of obstacles that some students may find insurmountable. Here are just a few of the possible consequences:
- Difficulties re-enrolling. In some cases, nursing students may successfully appeal a dismissal and get reinstated. In a few instances, dismissed students may be allowed to reapply. But both of these scenarios are rare—and given that most nursing schools are selective in their admissions standards, it could be difficult for a dismissed nursing student to convince another school to enroll them.
- Lost academic progress. Assuming the student manages to re-enroll, it's a safe bet that they will begin the entire curriculum from the beginning—not from the point at which they left off.
- Negative notations on the student's academic record. Dismissals often become part of the student's permanent academic record, which can make prospective employers more reluctant to hire the student even after graduation.
- Financial struggles/debt. If the student took out loans to pay for nursing school, those debts must still be repaid whether or not they get their nursing career back on track.
Common Reasons for Nursing School Dismissal
From the outside, one might assume the main reason for being dismissed from any institution is due to some form of wrongdoing. Actually, there are many possible reasons why a nursing student might face dismissal. Let's go through some of the most probable reasons why a nursing school might consider dismissing a student.
Between classwork, exams, and clinical hours, nursing students face a grueling course schedule under the best of circumstances. Sometimes even the most dedicated nursing students may struggle to maintain acceptable grades or keep up with their course work. In many cases, the underlying reason for the academic shortfalls may have nothing to do with the student failing to grasp the material or being unfit for the nursing profession. But if the grades don't add up and remediation doesn't appear to help, the school's promotions committee may still recommend dismissal.
Quite often, nursing schools are too quick to call for remediation. At other times, they may fail to recommend it when it might have helped. Most nursing schools have some remedial programs in place to account for a variety of student struggles, but that doesn't mean a student won't be dismissed without being given a fair chance to turn their grades around.
Nursing schools hold their students to high standards of academic and professional integrity. If allegations surface that a student has cheated or otherwise violated academic and professional standards, the school will investigate. If the investigation committee for the school is convinced of such wrongdoing, the committee may recommend dismissal.
Non-Academic and/or Sexual Misconduct
If a nursing student is accused of other violations of the school's student conduct policies, the school will conduct a similar investigation in accordance with its policies and procedures. If the allegations are of a sexual nature, the school may refer it to a separate investigation under federal Title IX rules. If the school determines the accusations have merit, it may recommend disciplinary action, including dismissal.
Financial Aid Errors
Many schools automatically begin dismissal procedures if a student's tuition is not paid up by a certain time. Unfortunately, this can often happen through no fault of the student due to mishaps or errors in processing loans, scholarships, grants, and other types of financial aid that the student was supposed to receive.
Fighting Against Nursing Student Dismissal
Given the stigma associated with dismissal, the common assumption might be that the student did something to warrant it. The reality, however, is much more complicated. Two things to bear in mind:
- Many dismissals occur through no fault of the student. For example, academic failures may occur due to extenuating circumstances like personal or family crises, health issues, misunderstandings, or even undiagnosed learning disabilities that could be otherwise managed and often would be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In other cases, the student may be falsely accused of misconduct, or the school, in its haste to provide swift justice, may deny the student due process even in violation of its own policies.
- Many dismissals can be resolved through other means. Academic shortfalls can be remedied through better remediation, for example, or by addressing the underlying causes of the shortfall. Schools can also be more vigilant to resolve financial aid issues or to allow the student the chance to produce a proper defense against allegations.
Attorney Advisor for Nursing Students Facing Dismissal
Quite often, the key to averting the threat of dismissal from nursing school is to hire an attorney advisor with experience in student disciplinary proceedings and the common issues nursing students face. A good attorney advisor can:
- Help identify the root issues behind the dismissal and help find alternative ways to resolve those issues
- Advise you on the best options for defending yourself against unfair allegations, including gathering witnesses and evidence to support your case
- Assist you in the appeals process before any dismissal becomes final
- Provide an extra layer of accountability for the school to abide by its own policies
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has many years of successful experience helping nursing students around the country resolve issues with the nursing school and avoid dismissal. Taking the necessary steps as early as possible in the process will always allow for the best prospect of a fair process and a favorable outcome, but reflecting their commitment to the cause, the Lento Law Firm has also successfully obtained reversals of nursing schools dismissals and has had formerly dismissed nursing students readmitted. Don't take chances with your future nursing career. If you are facing possible dismissal or other consequences, call the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 to see how we can help.