In part III of my journal I touched on after re-filing the civil suit against CSU with a new attorney, through prayers from friends and family members, I was able to convince my daughter, Shana, to find a new Nursing Program and to start over with the training. Through God’s blessing on June 12, 2012 our prayers were answered as she was accepted into Baldwin Wallace’s Accelerated Baccalaureate Nursing Program.
With that major hurdle behind us, we started preparing for the trial. According to Shana, during her Hearing held at CSU before the Student Grievance Board, the entire session was audiotaped. Additionally, information found on Cleveland State University’s website, https://www.csuohio.edu/studentlife/judicial-affairs-faqs, where student rights are discussed as well as information pertaining to the grievance procedures, under the section titled ‘What types of records are kept?’, it clearly states: …”Subsequent records would be materials submitted for the hearing and the tape recording of the hearing.” Yet when Shana’s new attorney submitted the Interrogatories to CSU, which included a request for a copy of the tape recording, CSU’s legal defense team denied its existence providing an email from the hearing’s mediator claiming these hearings are never recorded. Not only were we shocked, we were flabbergasted. We knew there had to be a very good reason why CSU’s legal defense team was claiming there was no tape recording.
The following are excerpts from the prepared speech Shana read during the January 26, 2012 hearing before the Student Grievance Board. This hearing, according to Shana was indeed audiotaped, which according to CSU’s website is standard practice. Due to the HIPAA Privacy Rule information pertaining to the patient involved in this case has been omitted.
“…Until now, I have never been involved in a hearing, so I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen today. But after reviewing the 7-page complaint that I received just yesterday, I can only assume those who are behind these false allegations of misconduct will come forth as witnesses and tell you that I am an incompetent and dishonest person… Because I had so little time to address these claims, there was no way I could gather witnesses who could dispute each and every accusation in these documents. Additionally, since being expelled from the Program, I, as well as my lawyer, have requested on numerous occasions that the School of Nursing return all of my ‘A’ graded clinical evaluation papers that would clearly prove my competency in the Program…I am here today to address my dismissal from the nursing school on 12/5/2011 because of allegations of wrongdoing. I’d like to discuss these improper and unfounded charges and tell you why I was dismissed from the nursing program without the proper cause or due process that is stipulated in the “Student Grievance Procedure” section of the university’s student handbook.
On 12/5/2011, I received a dismissal letter… that stated that I had been charged with the following offenses:
- Endangering the welfare of a patient
- Falsifying a patient’s medical records
- Lying to my instructor… and the assigned nursing staff
Again I state all of these allegations are false… I also would have questioned why I received a failing grade in the clinical course when all of my grades regarding my clinical performance had been above average before this situation occurred. But I was not given the opportunity to present my case to the School of Nursing before the decision was made to dismiss me from the Program.
I believe that the false allegations that were made against me on 12/5/2011 stem from a situation that occurred in June of last year . So, I’d like to discuss that incident. I made a complaint to the University’s Ombudsman because of a violation in due process. While taking the Clinical 226 course, I had trouble with charting in the Epic System. I met with [CSU faculty member] and told her that my clinical instructor was not assisting me in clinicals. [CSU faculty member] stated that it was my responsibility to learn the charting system on my own. Feeling this could lead to more problems down the road, I then contacted the Ombudsman to assist me with the problem. The Ombudsman contacted [CSU faculty member] and requested that I be placed in another clinical group, which I was. Apparently [CSU faculty member] was upset that I had talked with the Ombudsman about the matter because later, she told me that this was very embarrassing to the School of Nursing. [CSU faculty member’s] comment worried me because I had done nothing wrong by exercising my right to ask the Ombudsman to help me solve a problem that was affecting my ability to learn.
I believe that my actions in June [meeting with the Ombudsman] led to my dismissal from the School of Nursing without proper cause or due process because there is no evidence to support the school’s claim… In closing, I would like to say that there is no evidence that my behavior in this Program has been inconsistent with the responsibilities of citizenship or the standards of nursing practice. No faculty or staff has ever witnessed any wrong doing or negligence on my part – not on the day in question or any other day.
The evidence that the School of Nursing has submitted to prove their point did not come from a faculty member or an authorized instructor at Cleveland Clinic… Furthermore, the clinical instructor for the School of Nursing was very much aware of my performance. She had given me nothing but accolades for my work prior to this incident. Yet, suddenly, she came to believe that I would neglect my patient when I had no history of this. The fact that I was not given the benefit of doubt or allowed to address the patient’s complaints before being dismissed from the Program and given a failing grade is outrageous.
And now the School of Nursing is asking this committee to condone their inappropriate behavior. It is also amazing to me that the School of Nursing intentionally neglected to provide you with any of my strong evaluations and above average grades along with their “evidence.” This further strengthens my assertions that these accusations are slanderous.
Finally, I would like to pose three questions:
Question #1: Why would a nursing student who (1) has been on the Dean’s list since starting the nursing program, (2) has completed 12 months of the Program in good standing, (3) has completed over 30 successful assessments on patients, (4) has never received one complaint from a patient, and (5) has less than 6 months before she graduates risk throwing all of her hard work and future away by misrepresenting assessment findings and falsifying legal documents?
Question #2: Why would a nursing student who has been given best wishes from the University’s Ombudsperson risk throwing it all away by committing so many violations that it takes 7 pages to list them all?
Question #3: [Omitted here because it references specific information about the patient].
…It is stated in these documents [submitted by CSU] that I was assigned the [patient] because it would have been ‘a good lesson learned’ for me. I feel the real ‘lesson learned’ here is if you go over the [CSU faculty member’s] head and bring embarrassment to the Nursing Program, your life here at CSU as a nursing student is over! I would not do any of these things because the well-being of my patients and my future are far too important to jeopardize. Thank you for the opportunity to present my case.”
During the hearing, according to Shana, the mediator had to stop the recording several times when discussions between several CSU faculty and Shana had become too heated and out of control. Shana had also informed the Student Grievance Board members she had been informed by a former classmate that after she (Shana) had been dismissed from the Program, the Clinical 226 instructor Shana had complained to the Ombudsman about was no longer at CSU. This allegation, according to Shana, was not denied or challenged by any CSU faculty or their attorney. We believe this was a major reason why the existence of the tape recording was being denied.
And in the end, after hearing CSU’s side of the story in which Shana was charged with failing to perform the necessary testing on the patient, and Shana’s side of the story in which Shana explained the events of June 2011, the Student Grievance Board members sided with Shana.
Stay tuned to the next episode when I share our experience of finding even more ‘discoveries’