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Bill of Rights & Responsibilities for Students of Nursing

The NSNA Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities was initially adopted in 1975. The document was updated by the NSNA House of Delegates (1991); and item #4 was revised by the NSNA House of Delegates (2006). Further amendments were adopted by the House of Delegates on April 7, 2017. 

The Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities shall be recognized by administration, faculty and students, and any violations may be reported according to the Grievance or Complaint Policy.

  1. Under no circumstances should a student be barred from admission to a particular institution on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, citizenship, religion, national origin, disability, illness, legal status, personal attributes or economic status.
  2. The freedom to teach and the freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom and quality education; students should exercise their freedom in a responsible manner.
  3. Each institution has a duty to develop policies and procedures which provide and safeguard the students’ freedom to learn.
  4. Students should be encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and engage in an autonomous, sustained and independent search for truth.
  5. Students should be free to take reasoned exception in an informed, professional manner to the data or views offered in any course of study. However, students are accountable for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled.
  6. Students should have protection, through orderly approved standard procedures, against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation. However, students are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.
  7. Information about student views, beliefs, political ideation, legal status, United States citizenship status, sexual orientation or other personal information which instructors acquire in the course of their work or otherwise, should be considered confidential and not released without the knowledge or consent of the student, and should not be used as an element of evaluation.
  8. The student should have the right to advocate for themselves and other students in the construction, delivery and evaluation of the curriculum.
  9. Institutions should have a carefully considered policy as to the disclosure of private and confidential information which should be part of a student's permanent academic record in compliance with state and federal laws.
  10. Students and student organizations should be free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them, and to express opinions in an informed, professional manner, both publicly and privately.
  11. Students should be allowed to invite and to hear any person of their own choosing within the institution's acceptable guidelines, thereby advocating for and encouraging the advancement of their education.
  12. The student body should have clearly defined means to participate in the formulation and application of institutional policy affecting academic and student affairs, thereby encouraging leadership, through a faculty-student council, student membership or representation on faculty committees.
  13. The institution has an obligation to clarify those standards of conduct which it considers essential to its educational mission, its community life, or its objectives and philosophy. These may include, but are not limited to, policies on academic dishonestly, plagiarism, punctuality, attendance, and absenteeism.
  14. Disciplinary proceedings should be instituted only for violations of standards of conduct. Standard of conduct should be formulated with student participation, clearly written and published in advance through an available set of institutional regulations. It is the responsibility of the student to know these regulations.
  15. The nursing program should have readily available a set of clear, defined grievance procedures.
  16. As citizens and members of an academic community, students are exposed to many opportunities and they should be mindful of their corresponding obligations.
  17. Students have the right to belong or refuse to belong to any organization.
  18. Students have the right to personal privacy in their individual/personal space to the extent that their wellbeing and property are respected.
  19. Adequate safety precautions should be provided by nursing programs, for example, adequate street and building lighting, locks, patrols, emergency notifications, and other safety measures deemed necessary to ensure a safe and protected environment.
  20. Dress code, if present in the school, should be established with student input in conjunction with the school administration and faculty. This policy ensures that the highest professional standards are maintained, but also taking into consideration points of comfort and practicality for the student.
  21. Grading systems should be carefully reviewed initially and periodically with students and faculty for clarification and better student-faculty understanding.
  22. Students should have a clear mechanism for input into the evaluation of their nursing education and nursing faculty.
  23. The nursing program should track their graduates' success in finding entry-level employment as registered nurses and make this information available to all who apply and enroll.
  24. The nursing program should provide comprehensive, clear and concise information related to student loans, scholarships and any other student financial aid.