College-wide Policies and Procedures (A-F)
Academic Integrity Policy
Mercy College is a learning community dedicated to the core values of knowledge, reverence, integrity, compassion, and excellence.
- Knowledge is gained through coursework, labs, and clinical experiences and measured through assignments, written papers, and examinations.
- Reverence is demonstrated through respectful behaviors to all in the classroom, patient care settings, and community.
- Integrity requires honesty in all academic, laboratory, and clinical work since honesty and trust form the foundation for the ethical standards of all healthcare professions.
- Compassion is displayed through honest, caring concern for classmates, colleagues, patients and their families, and through service to the wider community.
- Excellence requires continually striving to do the highest quality work in academic, clinical, and personal settings.
Mercy College students are entering healthcare professions where honesty, integrity, and the highest ethical standards are required. These same standards are required in all academic and clinical work. Honesty in class work and clinical documentation is expected; along with maintaining strict confidentiality.
Examples of academic dishonesty include cheating or plagiarism, such as but not limited to:
- Copying answers from another student during a test.
- Using unauthorized resources for quizzes, tests, written work, or assignments.
- Copying or sharing test questions, materials, or assignments without instructor permission.
- Working with others on assignments where instructions state that the assignment is to be completed individually.
- Submitting work as one’s own that was written by someone else.
- Providing a paper or assignment for another student to submit.
- Using phrases from a source without proper use of quotation marks and citation.
- Failing to fully rewrite and sufficiently cite paraphrased information from a source.
- Submitting the same (or nearly the same) paper in more than one course without instructor permission. This is considered self-plagiarism.
- Giving a false reason for missing classes, clinicals, tests, or exams.
- Failing to report to the instructor cheating incidents that are personally witnessed in or out of class or in clinical settings. The standards in healthcare require the reporting of any unethical behavior that is witnessed and this professional practice begins upon entry into healthcare education.
Academic dishonesty is a serious violation of the Mercy College core values and healthcare professional ethics. Academic dishonesty harms fellow students, faculty, and most importantly, patients whose care may be jeopardized by the student’s resulting lack of knowledge and ethical integrity. Violations of this policy are considered a breach of the Student Code of Conduct, and consequences will follow the Student Discipline Procedure.
Every enrolled student will be required to acknowledge in writing his/her understanding and commitment to the Academic Integrity Policy including honesty and trustworthiness in his/her academic and clinical work.
The purpose of Turnitin software is to assist students in checking written work and to prevent improper use of citations and resource content. The software service allows a written work to be checked against internet content, several databases, and previously submitted work.
Plagiarism is the representation of another person’s ideas, statements, or research as one’s own; and includes having another person write a paper or do an assignment, or copying, summarizing or paraphrasing another’s work without appropriate and standard documentation. A Plagiarism Resource Guide is available at E-LEOS for enrolled students.
Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources Policy
Responsibilities of Mercy College Students
- Use that is consistent with the core values and complies with the policies of Mercy Medical Center.
- Use that respects the confidentiality of student records, identification numbers, grades, account numbers, personal information, passwords, and complies with HIPAA guidelines.
- Use that complies with all laws, including copyright, license agreements, and contracts.
- Use that does not harass, intimidate, threaten, or harm others, computers, or network resources.
Educational use of copyrighted materials permits only limited copying for study and research. Copying includes print materials such as books, articles, and pictures as well as music, videos, software, computer files, and graphic images. Additional details are available in Copyright tutorials on the Student and Faculty Courses on E-LEOS and from the library staff.
Peer-to Peer File Sharing
File sharing programs allow users to share files online. Examples of such programs are eMule, BitTorrent and Gnutella clients like LimeWire. The use of file sharing to share copyrighted music, games, and movies over the Internet without permission violates the Digital Millennial Copyright Act and is illegal. Using a computer to distribute copyrighted materials can incur legal penalties for those offering materials and those downloading them. Criminal penalties for violation of federal copyright law include fines up to $1 million and a maximum jail sentence of 10 years.
iTunes® is installed on campus computers and a list of other legal file sharing alternatives is available from library staff.
Privacy and Monitoring
The College reserves the right to monitor and access any data, including the contents of any College computer, activity logs, or College communications, for legitimate reasons, including but not limited to security, performance, backup, and troubleshooting. Inquiries for reasons of academic integrity may be made after obtaining approval from a College dean. Disclosure of information, without notice to the user, will also be made when required by court order or other legal authority, or when the College determines there is an urgent and compelling need.
Examples of Prohibited Behavior
This list is not intended to be a comprehensive list but to provide selective examples.
- Attempting to obtain passwords or access other user accounts, sharing a personal user name and password with any other person, or using another person’s account.
- Circumventing any security system or procedure. This includes any unauthorized activities intended to compromise system or network security such as hacking.
- Using information technology resources to obtain unauthorized access to records, data, or other forms of information owned, used by, or pertaining to the College or individuals.
- Modifying system or network facilities, or attempting to crash systems or networks.
- Deliberately introducing a computer virus, worm, spyware, or other malicious software into information technology resources that belong to Mercy College.
- Tampering with software protections or restrictions placed on computer applications or files.
- Using the College computer systems or network to send spam, pranks, chain letters, pyramid schemes, "flaming," or other similar types of broadcast messages.
- Sending messages that are malicious, harassing or threatening.
- Accessing, transmitting, or otherwise making use of pornographic materials of any kind available over the Internet.
- Using College information technology resources for personal for-profit purposes.
- Impersonating another user or otherwise falsifying a user name in email.
- Duplicating or transmitting copyrighted material beyond Fair Use without permission.
- Physically damaging information technology resources.
- Using information technology resources in a manner that is disruptive of the workplace or educational purpose of the College, or which otherwise hinders the effectiveness of the institution.
Investigations and Discipline
The Student Code of Conduct Discipline Procedure will apply to alleged infractions.
Alcohol and/or Substance Abuse Policies
Mercy College Alcohol Policy
The laws of the State of Iowa regulating the purchasing, dispensing, possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages shall apply to all members of the College community. Each person shall be expected to abide by those laws and will be held responsible, by civil law enforcement, for his or her own actions in any situation involving violations of Iowa state laws regarding alcoholic beverages.
Alcoholic beverages may not be consumed, possessed, distributed or sold on campus without specific authorization. Alcoholic beverages may not be served or consumed by students on campus.
Alcohol and Illegal Drug Use
The use of alcoholic beverages, though acceptable for persons of legal age, is a matter of concern, because Mercy College is committed to maintaining an academic and social environment conducive to the intellectual and personal development of students and to the safety and welfare of all members of the College community. The College believes that it cannot deny persons of legal age the right to use alcoholic beverages, but sees its responsibility as preventing the abuse of drinking privileges by encouraging individuals to behave in an appropriate and responsible manner where the use of alcoholic beverages is concerned.
It is expected that Mercy students who use alcohol will:
- be of legal age
- make healthy choices that avoid high-risk behaviors
- maintain control of self and circumstances
Mercy College does not condone alcohol use which results in:
- abuse to one’s self, others, or property
- compromised control of one’s self, circumstances, or values
- negative effects on academics, health, or relationships
- a pattern of problems
- violation of the law
Consistent with the Mercy College core values, it is expected that students will take ownership in and responsibility for establishing and reinforcing community alcohol standards as follows:
By creating and maintaining a view on alcohol that:
- alcohol should not be the focal point of any activity
- supports an individual’s decision not to drink
- understands that students who drink together have an obligation to be informed, supportive peers who look out for one another’s welfare
As part of a responsible alcohol educational effort, all students will receive information on:
- alcohol standards and policies
- signs of alcohol problems
- how to explore and understand their own drinking choices
- available campus and off-campus resources
- levels of alcohol impairment
- effects of tolerance on alcohol consumption
- effects of other drugs on alcohol consumption
- how to calculate blood-alcohol levels
- emergency responses and procedures
- issues that drive substance abuse
Drug Free Schools and Communities Act and the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, Section 120.
The Federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, Section 120, require all students and employees to be informed of the institution’s drug and alcohol policy guidelines. The following is Mercy College’s policy related to a drug-free campus environment which applies to all Mercy students, faculty, and staff. Should a student have any questions, please contact the Vice President of Enrollment Management adn Student Affairs or designee.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Policy
- Mercy College prohibits the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on its property or as a part of any of its programs or activities. Students and employees who engage in prohibited or illegal conduct face sanctions, including suspension, dismissal, expulsion, termination of enrollment and/or employment and referral for prosecution.
- Health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and alcohol abuse vary with the nature of the substance and pattern of abuse and include, but are not limited to:
- depression and/or mood swings
- organ damage
- mental problems, hallucinations, confusion
- violent reactions
Further information concerning the uses and penalties associated with controlled substances is summarized below. Materials outlining health risks in detail and with specificity concerning particular drugs are available from the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs or designee.
- The unlawful use, possession, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcoholic beverages may result in local, state and federal legal sanctions which may include fines, imprisonment or both. Legislation is extensive in this area, and penalties vary with the type of illicit drug and/or alcohol abuse. Ordinances and statutes collected in local, state and federal codes including but not limited to Title 21, Chapter 13 of the United States Code, Chapters 123, 124, 124A, and 124B of the Iowa Code, and Chapters 10 and 70 of the Municipal Code of the City of Des Moines, should be consulted. A partial description of applicable sanctions is listed below.
- Drug and alcohol counseling is available from the Student Success Center.
- Violators of the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Policy begin the Student Discipline Procedure at Step 3. The student, while on Campus, in clinical settings or participating in college-sanctioned activities, will be subject to College discipline procedures if they:
- Use, possess, distribute or sell alcohol.
- Are under the influence of alcohol.
- Possess, manufacture, distribute, dispense, buy, transfer, sell, or use illegal drugs, alcohol, or legal drugs without a physician’s prescription.
- Engage in off-campus possession, manufacture, distribution, dispensing, buying, transferring, selling or using of illegal drugs resulting in a conviction.
- Parental notification: The College has a responsibility to help students when it is believed that the student needs assistance. This responsibility extends to the possible notification of parents.
- If a student of Mercy College is convicted of any violation set forth in paragraph 5 above, the student is required to inform the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Services or designee within five days of the conviction. Drug or certain alcohol-related convictions as set forth in paragraph 5 above may result in disciplinary measures of the student up to and including expulsion.
- The Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs or designee will notify all appropriate agencies and registries of relevant drug or alcohol-related conviction as set forth in paragraph 7 above within thirty days of receiving the information. Students licenses as LPNs or Allied Health care providers are additionally subject to all sanctions imposed by the Iowa Nurse Practice Act and Allied Health Licensure Guidelines and will be referred for disciplinary action where appropriate.
Federal Penalties and Sanctions for Illegal Possession of a Controlled Substance and Alcohol Related Offenses
21 U.S.C. 844(a): 1st conviction up to 1 year imprisonment and fined at least $1,000 or both. After 1 prior drug conviction at least 15 days in prison, not to exceed 2 years, and fined at least $2,500, or both.
After 2 or more prior drug convictions at least 90 days in prison, not to exceed 3 years, and fined at least $5,000, or both.
21 U.S.C. 853(a)(2) and 881(a)(7): Forfeiture of personal and real property used to possess or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance if that offense is punishable by more than 1 year of imprisonment. (See special sentencing provision re: crack).
21 U.S.C. 881(a)(4): Forfeiture of vehicles, boats, aircraft or any other conveyance used to transport or conceal a controlled substance and any real property used to facilitate such crime.
21 U.S.C. 862(b): Denial of federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts, and professional and commercial licenses, up to 1 year for first offense, up to 5 years for second and subsequent offenses and completion of drug treatment program and community service.
Revocation of federal licenses and benefits are vested with the authorities of individual Federal agencies. Note: Federal penalties for manufacture or distribution of controlled substances include various prison sentences ranging up to life in prison and various fines ranging up to $2 million. 21 U.S.C. 960
State Penalties and Sanctions
Iowa Code §123.46: (consumption of alcohol in public places; public intoxication). Either imprisonment ,not to exceed 30 days, or a fine of at least $50, but not more than $100.
Iowa Code §§123.47: (Providing alcoholic liquor, wine or beer to persons under age 21; possession or control by persons under age 21). First offense: fine of $200 to $1,000. Second offense: fine of $500 and completion of substance abuse evaluation or suspension of driver’s license for up to 1 year. Third and subsequent offenses: fine of $500 and suspension of driver’s license for up to 1 year.
Iowa Code §123.49: (Providing alcoholic liquor, wine or beer to an intoxicated person). Imprisonment not to exceed 30 days or fine not to exceed $625.
Iowa Code §124.401(5): (Possession of a controlled substance). Substances other than marijuana: imprisonment not to exceed 1 year and/or fine not to exceed $1,875. Marijuana: imprisonment not to exceed 6 months and/or fine not to exceed $1,000. Suspended sentences may include probation and required participation in drug treatment program.
Iowa Code §124.401(1) and (2): (Manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance or counterfeit or simulated controlled substance). Depending on the nature and amount of substance, penalties range from imprisonment for periods not to exceed 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, 25 years or 50 years and/or fines not to exceed $5,000, $6,250, $7,500, $50,000, $100,000 or $1,000,000.
Iowa Code §124.406: (Distribution of a controlled substance to a person under age 18). Depending on nature of substance and ages of parties, penalties range from imprisonment for periods not to exceed 25 years, 10 years, 5 years , or 2 years and/or fines not to exceed $5,000, $6,250, $7,500, or $10,000.
Iowa Code §124.407: (Sponsoring, promoting or assisting with a gathering with knowledge that controlled substance will be distributed, used or possessed there). Controlled substances other than marijuana: imprisonment not to exceed 5 years and/or fine not to exceed $7,500. Marijuana: imprisonment not to exceed 1 year and/or fine not to exceed $1,875.
Second or subsequent offenses of most of the above-referenced offenses may be punished by imprisonment for a period up to three times the term otherwise authorized and/or a fine of up to three times the amount otherwise authorized.
Iowa Code §124A.4: (Manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver an imitation controlled substance). Depending on ages of the participants, penalties may range from imprisonment for periods not to exceed 1 year, 2 years or 5 years and/or fines not to exceed $1,875, $6,250 or $7,500.
Iowa Code §124B.9: (Sale, transfer, furnishing or receipt of a “precursor substance” with knowledge or intent it will be used to unlawfully manufacture a controlled substance). Imprisonment not to exceed 10 years and/or fine not to exceed $10,000.
Violations of local ordinances dealing with alcohol consumption, such as public intoxication and similar offenses, generally are punishable by fines not to exceed $500 or imprisonment not to exceed 30 days.
Please see the Code of Student Conduct section of this Handbook for discipline procedures concerning drug or alcohol violations. d:\m1206\alcohol and controlled substance use.
Student Alcohol/Substance Abuse During Clinical Time
All students in a clinical setting may be subject to testing under certain circumstances including but not limited to post accident or injury to another student or employee and probable cause or reasonable suspicion to believe that the student may be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Probable cause/reasonable suspicion includes but is not limited to the smell of alcohol and/or impaired behaviors.
- If a student is suspected of alcohol or substance abuse, they may be excused from the clinical site. Alternate transportation of the student will be arranged from the clinical site.
- If there is probable cause to believe the student is under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, Step 3 of the Student Discipline Procedure will apply.
- Cost associated with a positive testing result and treatment will be borne by the student.
Assessment Purpose Statement
Mercy College has a commitment to embed in its culture meaningful, manageable, and sustainable assessment practices to enhance institutional quality. To that end, the College is dedicated to implementing a systematic, continuous process of improvement aligned with its vision, mission, and values.
Mercy College students are expected to attend all assigned class, laboratory, and clinical sessions and to be punctual. It is the student’s responsibility to follow specific procedures as outlined in the course syllabus for notifying instructors of absences, in advance if possible. Please note that instructor have their own specific procedures as to the consequences of missing class, tests, exams, and late assignments.
Legitimate reasons for absence may include serious illness, documented compassionate leave, jury duty, and cancellation of classes due to weather emergency.
Students are expected to meet all attendance and punctuality expectations. When weather is severe, students are advised to comply with the recommendations of the Iowa Highway Patrol on road conditions and travel safety. If class is missed due to severe weather refer to course syllabus for makeup or attendance policy.
Students must verify their course enrollment by attending class(es) the first week of each term. Students enrolled in online courses must have meaningful interaction in their online course(s) the first week of the term to verify their enrollment. Failure to verify enrollment may result in students being dropped from class(es) for non-attendance.
Students may be granted up to three calendar days compassionate leave due to death of the following: biological/adopted or step mother, father, spouse, child, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, mother-in-law or father-in-law. Students may be required to provide verification (obituary, funeral bulletin) to instructors. These absences may require clinical makeup.
Students should contact the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs or designee if they receive a jury summons. These absences, if during a clinical course, may require clinical make-up expenses.
Background Checks and Electronic Health Records as Post Admission Requirements for Academic Programs Policy
To ensure the safety of all clients served by Mercy College students and to meet regulations of our clinical partners regarding student participation in clinical site rotations as determined by the standards of The Joint Commission (TJC) and in compliance with state and federal laws, a national criminal background check and child and dependent adult abuse checks will be conducted on each student seeking admission to an academic program that includes a clinical, preceptorship, internship, or similar experiences that require patient interaction. Further, students are also required to provide documentation of current immunizations and personal health information as required by the clinical standards of the profession they have been admitted to study.
When seeking admission to an academic program with clinical, preceptorship, or internship opportunities, students will be required to establish an account with CertifiedBackground.com and provide the necessary fees directly to the vendor, in order to conduct these checks and collect these health records in order to finalize admission to the academic program. Students who choose not to participate in these checks or are found to have criminal backgrounds may not be able to be admitted to the academic program or remain in the academic program. Students who are unable to fulfill the clinical standards of the profession may also not be able to be admitted to that specific academic program.
Failure to disclose a criminal record or founded case of abuse (regardless of whether perceived to be expunged in the past and later found on documentation provided to the College) or as part of the information supplied to the vendor at the time of admission to an academic program may also result in a denial of admission to the academic program.
A student’s background is checked based on information obtained from the student’s residency history. When the College is notified by the vendor that a student has a criminal record, the student will be expected to provide clarifying information about each conviction listed on the record for further evaluation by the Mercy College Background Check Review Committee. Students who have a criminal record may be denied admission to an academic program. They may be considered for admission only after undergoing a review by the Iowa Department of Human Services, and/or an evaluation by the Mercy College Background Check Review Committee.
If the student wishes to dispute the findings reported by the vendor, the student will be granted an opportunity to do so as outlined under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), guided by the instructions of the vendor. Denial of admission may be appealed to the Vice-President of Academic Affairs & Provost if documentation of a resolution to the case can be made. Criminal and abuse registry documents are maintained by the vendor and are required to be accessible while enrolled at the College. Criminal records are not part of a student’s permanent record.
Various licensing boards may restrict eligibility for professional licensure/certification if a person has been convicted of a felony or has participated in other illegal or unethical behaviors. Students under these situations are encouraged to contact the appropriate licensure/certification board prior to seeking admission to an academic program. In cases where a licensure/certification board does grant permission to eventually test for certification/licensure following successful graduation from a Mercy College academic program, the College makes no stipulations on the ability of the student to find employment within the certification/licensure career field.
Clinical Reporting Policy
Students must first contact as soon as possible their clinical instructor to report suspected patient abuse or other inappropriate conduct in a clinical setting.
Clinical Responsibility and Compensation Restrictions Policy
In a clinical setting/session, students must not take the responsibility or the place of qualified staff. However, after demonstrating competency, students may be permitted to undertake certain defined activities under appropriate supervision and direction. Students may be employed in a clinical setting outside regular educational hours, provided the work does not interfere with regular academic responsibilities. The work must be at the student’s discretion, paid, and subject to standard employment policies.
College Information Policy
Mercy College reserves the right to make changes as necessary, including changes in requirements, programs, policies, and fees. Changes shall go into effect whenever appropriate with such notice as is reasonable under the circumstances, as posted on the College’s learning management system (E-LEOS).
Communication Competency Graduation Requirement
The Communication Competency Requirement (CCR) ensures that quality standards for writing and oral communication are upheld at Mercy College. The rubrics used to determine whether competency is met can be found in the Student Course in the learning management system, E-LEOS and are also discussed during college orientation and registration.
The competencies consist of one oral communication and one written communication. The competencies will be completed as a part of each program’s curriculum. In the event that a student does not demonstrate competency on the writing assignment declared a CCR, the student will be referred to the Assessment Coordinator to participate in an alternate route for completing the writing competency process. In the event that a student does not demonstrate competency on the oral communication assignment declared a CCR, the student will work with her or his instructor for other possibilities for completing this portion of the graduation requirement.
Because the CCR is included in each program’s curriculum, exemption from the requirement is not valid. All degree seeking students at Mercy College will complete communication competency requirements in order to complete their degree, regardless of previous education at Mercy College, or any other institution.
Communication Competency Procedures
In order to graduate, all degree seeking students must demonstrate written and oral communication competency by passing the CCR as follows: Submit the following to the Assessment Office (or to Program faculty if student entered program on or after January 2011)
- One example of writing other than one completed in ENG 101 English Composition I.
- One oral communication example or small group presentation other than one completed in SPE 105 Small Group Communication.
These materials are due no later than the semester prior to when the student will graduate (or within the designated program course if student entered program on or after January 2011). Detailed information can be found within the E-LEOS Student Course.
Students who began their program before January 2011 and who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher are not required to complete the CCR. Beginning in January 2011, exemption from the requirement is no longer allowed.
Confidentiality of Patient Information Policy/Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
STUDENTS MUST MAINTAIN PATIENT CONFIDENTIALITY AT ALL TIMES WITHOUT EXCEPTION. Students are required to comply with regulations contained in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). Students are legally responsible for maintaining patient confidentiality and personally liable for any and all breaches in patient confidentiality. A breach of patient confidentiality is considered a Student Code of Conduct violation and will fall under that policy.
Students must follow these confidentiality rules:
- Do not discuss clients off the unit. This means anywhere off the unit (e.g., other locations in the medical center, in the cafeteria, in the elevator, in the student’s car, other public places, at a second place of employment, in the mall, at home with family or friends, in the classroom, and/or any other settings.)
- Do not walk off the unit and say a client’s name for any reason.
- If a student knows a client or their family, notify the instructor or the contact person immediately (e.g., neighbor, classmate, friend, current or former colleague at work, family, etc.).
- If a student knows a client or their family on a professional basis (have taken care of them in another medical setting), notify the instructor or the contact person immediately.
- Students should not acknowledge a client if seen outside the unit or at a later date in any other setting. (e.g., church, the mall, in the medical center, party, school, etc.) Do not nod, smile, greet, or acknowledge the client even casually in any way unless the client first nods, smiles, or greets the student. Limit casual acknowledgement to a polite acknowledgement only.
- Do not discuss anything with the client related to his/her hospital stay anywhere off the unit even if the client initiates the conversation. Students should simply indicate for confidentiality reasons that they can’t enter into any conversation.
- Do not discuss clients with an instructor other than the instructor assigned on the unit.
- Do not send information about clients via email. This includes sending assessment, care plans or journals.
- Do not use client names or their families’ names in assessment care plans.
- Do not use client names with other clients or with their peers. If a student is approached by a client who wants to discuss another client, refer them to staff immediately.
Mercy College believes it is important to encourage an open mind, a desire to comprehend, and a sense of respect for ethnic and cultural diversity.