Thousands of nurses have been getting through school with plagiarized essays, cheating on exams and even impersonating each other for tests.

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The Times of London reports that universities in the UK have punished at least 1,706 students in the past three years for their shady attempts to get through schooling without learning. Not that I retained all that much by writing 25-page essays when I was in college, but nursing students arguably have more at stake. And, according to The Times, nursing students are disproportionately more likely to cheat than other students.

Nursing students are able to buy essays off a number of websites, many of them written by retired professors of UK colleges. The obvious dangers of this practice, according to “plagiarism expert” Dr Thomas Lancaster, are that nurses may come through school without knowing how to properly read doctor’s notes and prescriptions, which could be fatal for a patient at some point.

Different schools released statements on the cheating epidemic, with the Edinburgh Napier University saying, “Often plagiarism owes much more to naivety than dishonesty and so we focus on educating students on good practice in their written work.”

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Fair enough. Let it be known that cheating is wrong if you are learning a potentially life-saving practice, probably not a great idea even if you’re not.

Image via Shutterstock, Screenshot via Nursingessay.co.uk.