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Should Nurses Blow the Whistle?

Should Nurses Blow the Whistle?

Jennifer LeClaire | Monster Contributing Writer

With the various corporate scandals of recent years, we’ve seen plenty of headlines about whistleblowers in the business world. Now, the nursing industry is bringing us its own front-page cases that could see more medical watchdogs come to the fore.

Legal experts say the number of whistleblower cases in the healthcare field has been on the rise since 1999, when the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies reported that medical errors are the nation’s leading cause of death and injury.

“Nurses are becoming more vocal about concerns that healthcare organizations are using unlicensed assistant personnel and not employing enough nurses on a shift,” says attorney LaTonia Denise Wright, RN, of the Healthcare Risk Aversion Group in Cincinnati. “This is a real concern, because these practices lead to medical errors.”

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Nurses Speak Out

Nurses are also blowing the whistle on questionable practices. Cindy Moore, RN, got vocal about the way Florida’s Duval County Health Department diagnosed people with sexually transmitted diseases. She complained that health officials were not notifying infected people in a timely manner and was subsequently fired for her accusations.

Likewise, Stephanie Hohman, RN, blew the whistle on the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) emergency room when she became concerned about patients’ rights and possible abuse. Hohman was also fired. And psychiatric nurse Stacie Neldaughter, RN, was fired after reporting alleged misuse of shock therapy treatment at a Wisconsin hospital.

Despite the career risks, healthcare attorneys say nurses have a responsibility to blow the whistle on such activity.

“Everyone has a moral obligation to blow the whistle on unsafe practices,” says attorney Joanne Sheehan of Friedman, Newman, Levy, Sheehan and Carolan in Fairfield, Connecticut. “A nurse may be disciplined by the state licensing board for participating in unsafe practices that can harm patients.”

Next: Employer Retaliation >>


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    Susie299

    over 5 years ago

    4 comments

    I am an RN who reported unethical practices/unsafe practices and also true fraud of a very large home health company to the local manager. When it appeared she did nothing, I then went to the corporate compliance officer in another state. He would never return my calls. I was then retaliated against by local management and then fired 2 months later and told "you make us look bad by making yourself look good so you have to go." I did leave that day. I have since turned them in to the Medicare/Medicaid/and State Attorney General. My career has definitely taken a dive. The company attorney sent me a threatening letter saying if I said anything about the company, they would sue me and have my license pulled...can you believe that. This company knows what I know is true, I am not afraid to fight but it is hard to get Medicare/Medicaid, etc. to do their jobs. I am a former Medicare Fraud investigator too! This is what is so wrong with our healthcare system!!

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    ronrose1950

    over 5 years ago

    4 comments

    I am an LPN who reported an RN for unethical practices. While the company was well aware of what was going on they chose to keep the RN. In my letter of resignation I wrote that I could no longer put my ethics or my license on the line. Several days later, before my 2 week notice was up, I was called to the office and let go. I loved my job but I could not have lived with myself if I had done it anyother way. My revenge is enrolling in an RN bridge program at the age of 58.

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    raymoss1

    over 5 years ago

    220 comments

    The sad thing is nurses are terminated all the time for either speaking their minds or trying to change a wrong. The administration has all the power and they can do what they want. Including setting up their nurses. I have seen it where I work and it is wrong. A nurse can be terminated and or have her license suspended or revoked if she does not report abuse. Then their are times when I nurse reports unethical practices and she pays for it. by being terminated. There needs to be laws protecting the nurse(laws the actually work). My question is, what does the nurse do? The facility that I worked for was the nursing home that was responsible for the first nurse in the nation to go to federal prison for falsifing records. So blowing the whistle can cost you more than your job.

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