The College of Nursing Professional Misconduct Committee (PMC) conducts hearings in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Undergraduate and Graduate College of Nursing Handbook for suspected incidences of professional misconduct by nurses enrolled in the College of Nursing. The committee is comprised of the chair, faculty representatives from Undergraduate and Graduate Studies committees, clinical instructors, and nursing students. Students who are suspected and accused of committing professional misconduct are subject to a hearing in the College of Nursing according to the following procedure.
Faculty and/or a preceptor may remove a student from the clinical area when either deems that a student exhibits behavior that is unsatisfactory, not safe, unprofessional, or violates the professional standards set forth in the College of Nursing Student Handbooks. Permanent removal from a clinical site is under the judgment of the faculty of record for the relevant course.
PROCEDURE FOR ALLEGED MISCONDUCT
All College of Nursing personnel are obligated to report suspected incidences of professional misconduct to the chair of the Professional Misconduct Committee (PMC). The following will apply for cases of alleged violation of the professional standards of the College of Nursing.
Following is a description of the process for reporting an alleged professional misconduct:
• Any person (including students) may report an incident of professional misconduct to any faculty member.
• If the allegation is made by a student, the initial report, along with a witness statement from the student making the allegation, is submitted by the College Official who promptly forwards a written description of the alleged incident to the chair of the PMC. A college official is defined as faculty, staff, clinical instructor, teaching assistants, or college administrator.
• If a college official directly observes an alleged professional misconduct, the college official forwards a written description of the alleged incident to the chair of PMC promptly after the allegation comes to his/her attention.
• Upon receipt of the written report of an alleged incident, the PMC chair will notify the student in writing about receipt of the written allegation.
• Within 30 days of receiving notification of the alleged incident, the PMC chair or her/his designee will investigate the alleged incident to determine if the incident meets the criteria for professional misconduct. The PMC chair may consult with others to determine if there are other sites of adjudication in addition to the College of Nursing. If the adjudication body is not the PMC, then the university procedures outlined in the Student Code will be followed. However, behavior may constitute both professional and academic misconduct and thus, could be adjudicated in more than one site.
• If the PMC chair determines that the severity of the alleged incident does not merit a hearing for professional misconduct but does represent behavior that is not in accordance with College of Nursing policies or professional standards, the PMC chair will meet with the student to issue an informal admonition. An informal admonition is not considered a disciplinary sanction, but may be considered in any future hearings. Following the issuance of an informal admonition, the student can request a hearing of the incident. A written request for a hearing must be filed with the PMC chair within 5 working days of the student’s receipt of the informal admonition.
• If the PMC chair determines that there is probable cause to believe professional misconduct has occurred he/she submits a report of the incident to the appropriate Associate Dean for informational purposes and initiates the hearing procedure. The PMC chair will also give the accused student prompt confidential written notice of the allegation.
After the PMC chair has notified the student(s) involved of the specific charges of alleged professional misconduct, the chair will:
• Inform the student(s) of the procedures for the hearing process.
• Make all materials received pertaining to the incident available to the student(s).
• Notify the student(s) of the hearing date at least seven (7) days in advance of the hearing.
The student may request a continuance for just cause.
• Appoint a hearing panel from among the members of the standing Professional Misconduct Committee within 14 days of notifying the student of the disposition of the allegation. The panel will consist of one representative from both Undergraduate and Graduate Studies committees or an appropriate alternate, two students at the level of the student who is charged with misconduct, and one clinical instructor or clinical faculty, all of whom can hear the case without prejudice. The PMC chair serves as chair of this panel. The PMC chair serves as an ex-officio member without vote. If the PMC chair cannot hear the case without prejudice, then the PMC chair will appoint an alternate
• Instruct the hearing panel that all hearing proceedings are confidential.
• Make an audio recording of the hearing.
The student against whom the alleged incident is charged is initially presumed to be “not in violation” of the professional standards of the College of Nursing. Those present at the hearing include individuals directly involved in the alleged incident and witnesses requested by the PMC chair or the accused student. The accused student may have a person present to provide advice and/or support. If the support person is an attorney, a member from The Ohio State University Office of Legal Affairs will be present at the initial meeting between the PMC Chair and the student as well as during the hearing. During the hearing, the support person may only counsel the student and may not actively participate in the hearing. If a student reported the incident to a college official, the official making the report will be present in the hearing.
During the hearing, both student(s) and college official (person forwarding the allegation) will be given the opportunity to describe the alleged incident without interruption. Following their presentations, panel members will ask questions of all parties until they are satisfied that their understanding of the incident is clear. After the information has been gathered and clarified, the college official and the student(s) leave the hearing room so the panel can go into closed (no audio) session to discuss the evidence and render a decision. An outcome of “in violation” is based on the greater weight of the evidence. An outcome of “in violation” is reported to the Office of Legal Affairs.
If a student is found in violation of Professional Standard, the College Secretary maintains records of the allegations and hearing according to the College’s records retention policy. A record of the allegations and hearing is also kept in the University’s Office of Legal Affairs. All records are confidential.
• The proceedings are kept confidential and not shared with anyone outside of the committee except the Dean when the student is found in violation.
If a student is found in violation of the allegations, the College Secretary will open a letter from the Office of Legal Affairs to ascertain whether there has been any previous violations. The committee then determines the sanction based on current and previous findings. The range of sanctions imposed by the College of Nursing’s PMC is the same as used by other university adjudicatory bodies. Sanctions are listed below. Educational sanctions can accompany any of the listed sanctions. These sanctions follow Faculty Rule http://trustees.osu.edu/rules/code-of-student-conduct/3335-23-17.html . Exemplars of sanction may include but are not restricted to the following:
• Formal Reprimand
• Disciplinary probation
• Disenrollment from the College of Nursing for a specified term
The student(s) and the college official(s) reporting the incident are notified in writing of the PMC’s decision within seven days following the hearing.
If the student is found in violation, the PMC chair notifies the Dean of the PMC’s decision.
The student has the right to appeal the decision made by the hearing panel. Appeals must be filed with the appeals officer (college Dean) within 14 days of the date on the sanction letter. Appeals are based on any of the following:
• Procedural error
• Finding of “in violation” not supported by the greater weight of the evidence
• Substantial new evidence not available at the time of the hearing
• Sanction grossly disproportionate to the violation
The Dean will review all pertinent materials. After reviewing the materials, the Dean may uphold the original sanction, dismiss the original sanction, impose a lesser sanction, or order a new hearing. The Dean’s disposition is final.
All records pertaining to the incident are given to the College Secretary at the end of the hearing to be placed in a locked file in the Student Affairs, Equity, and Inclusion Records Office. These records are confidential and retained for five years in a file separate from the student’s academic file.
Annual Reporting Process
The PMC chair will prepare an annual report of hearing actions that is submitted to the Dean. Findings will be de-identified and include the type of violation, subsequent action and any implications for ongoing program improvement. The PMC chair will track and analyze all data and institute immediate action with the appropriate college official should program enhancements be needed.