Whistle blowing is a term used to describe a person who reports a wrongdoing to a superior or an authority figure in order to stop the offense. At first thought whistle blowing may seem like an easy decision, but it can easily materialize into a difficult ethical dilemma. In a healthcare environment nurses are expected to put the welfare of there patients first, but what if the consequence of blowing the whistle is committing career suicide? Nurses need to know about this ethical dilemma so when a situation, such as the aforementioned, arises they will know what to do and hopefully make the right decision. This topic really appealed to me because I believe that it is an issue ...view middle of the document...
24). When Bentley challenged the logic behind her supervisor’s request she was removed from her job as clinical services director and transferred to a position called “director of policy and evaluation”. Bentley filed a civil lawsuit and was awarded $100,000 in punitive damages.
In “Whistleblower Protection for Nurses and Other Healthcare Professionals”, Drew and Garrahan (2005) addressed the legal side of whistle blowing. They talked about what laws and acts protect nurses and other healthcare workers from retaliation if they blew the whistle. Drew and Garrahan said “State and federal laws may protect nurses and other healthcare professionals from retaliation when they blow the whistle on wrongdoing such as patient safety violations or health care fraud” (Drew, Garrahan, 2005, p. 79). It was also made very clear that potential whistle blowers should know their respective state laws as they vary from state to state.
After analyzing whistling blowing, I have come to the understanding that nurses are not only expected, but are required to report any negligence, abuse or danger that a patient may be exposed to. To make whistle blowing an easier decision to make, federal and state officials have introduced laws that protect those who choose to whistle. Although laws have made it easier to whistle blow, there are no laws that govern emotion. What if a nurse was placed in a situation where the wrongdoer is a best friend or family member? Would whistle blowing be the right decision if the result was your friend or family member losing their job? According to American Nurses Association’s Code of Ethics (2001), the nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, or community. I interpreted this as saying that it does not matter what the consequences are to the wrongdoer or your organization, as a nurse you are ethically bound to placing the welfare of the patient first.
Kozier & Erb’s (2008) lists six ethical principles, three of these, beneficence, nonmaleficence and veracity directly relates to whistle blowing. Beneficence means “doing good”, nonmalficence is duty to “do no harm”, and veracity refers to telling the truth (Berman, Snyder, Kozier, Erb, 2008). If nurses lack these three ethical principles it will detrimentally...