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Should Nurses Blow the Whistle?

Should Nurses Blow the Whistle?

Jennifer LeClaire | Monster Contributing Writer

Employer Retaliation

While this is certainly true, Wright advises nurses to understand the potential backlash before speaking out.

“You could be terminated, and even if you decide to file suit, it could be years before you get your job back — if you get your job back,” she says. “The statutes are normally very narrowly worded, and they vary from state to state. It’s not a decision that you should make lightly.”

More than 50 percent of workers who flagged incidents of unlawful conduct in 2002 were fired, according to a study by the National Whistleblower Center, a nonprofit educational advocacy organization dedicated to supporting employee whistleblowers. Many others said they faced unfair discipline.

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The protections are limited even where a whistleblower statute is applicable, since statutes of limitation often force employees to learn of their rights and file a complaint within 30 days of being fired or disciplined.

Steve Lee, RN, says his career nose-dived after he blew the whistle on alleged unsafe practices at a Texas hospital. He has since launched Nurseprotect, a grassroots effort to support nurses who face retaliation for whistleblowing.

“Don’t blow the whistle unless you are willing to give up your career for it,” says Lee. “Whistleblower laws are symbolic and largely ineffective.”

While many agree with Lee, more nurses are finding protections and remedies under new state whistleblower laws, say experts, especially since the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act came on the scene with federal provisions built in.

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    about 6 years ago


    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!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    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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    about 6 years ago


    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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