4 Reasons to Be a Whistleblower
Do you have what it takes?
Steve Berman | NursingLink
3. When general incompetence is witnessed on the job.
Is a doctor using non-traditional medicines or techniques? Are patients’ symptoms being ignored, or not noticed at all? Have you witnessed something during a surgical procedure that was a blatant mistake but nothing was done or it was covered up? These are all reasons to blow the whistle.
4. When a doctor is harassing nurses and other hospital employees.
This isn’t extremely common either, but excessive yelling and foul language can be a reason to complain. Harassment based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability is definitely something a nurse should bring to the attention of the proper authorities.
However, being a whistleblower is hardly tempting for most people. According to a survey of physicians, 17% of doctors had knowledge of an impaired or incompetent physician in their workplace, and “one-third of those doctors had not reported the matter to authorities such as hospital officials or state medical boards.” And in one Texas case, a nurse was fired and went on trial for slander after sending what she thought was an anonymous letter complaining about a doctor’s actions to the Texas Medical Board. (She was acquitted.)
The whistleblower policy is different from state to state, but for the most part they’re similar in terms of reporting any sort of improper conduct without the chance of receiving poor treatment in return. The best thing to do is to review the policy in your state and/or healthcare facility, and follow the rules completely. After filing a complaint, resist the temptation to let a coworker know that you’ve complained, because if that person says anything to anyone else, you may face unwanted consequences.
What other reasons are there to be a whistleblower?