Friday, March 20, 2009

MySpace Posts Prompt Nursing Student Dismissal

A former nursing student at the University of Louisville (KY) brought legal action against the school because they forced her to leave the program because of outspoken MySpace posts (U of L Dismisses Nursing Student over Blog Posts, Louisville Courier-Journal, March 14, 2009). The blogger, Nina Yoder, requested that she be allowed to return to the nursing program because the school "violated her First Amendment rights."

The nursing school countered that Yoder was expelled because she mentioned her affiliation with the University in the posts, talked about patients, used profanity, and made derogatory comments about ethnic and religious groups which violates the school's nursing honor code. In one section of the nursing honor code, students must pledge to maintain "confidentiality and professionalism in all my written work, spoken word, actions and interactions with patients."

Discussion Questions:
  1. Do universities have the right to dismiss students because of activities outside classrooms and clinical settings?
  2. The University of Louisville includes a statement on academic freedom at their website. It clearly states that "students have a right to their own views on matters of opinion, rather than fact, and a right to express those views in appropriate ways." If Nina Yoder did not disclose patient names, should she be able to talk about working with patients in her blog posts?