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  1. Smith, Mable H. PhD, RN, JD
  2. McKoy, Yvonne D. PhD, RN
  3. Richardson, Joann PhD


Clinical faculty have a legal, ethical, and professional obligation to evaluate students' clinical performance to ensure safe practitioners. However, many clinical faculty members fear litigation and hesitate to give an unsatisfactory grade to students who do not meet established standards. If the decision to assign a failing clinical grade was "careful and deliberate" and the student was afforded due process, the principle of judicial deference emerges to protect the clinical instructor and the educational institution.