After reading about these 6 examples of whistleblowing in nursing and healthcare, you’ll lose any doubt you might have about the courage of the whistleblowers and the consequences they are exposed for their actions.
It goes without saying that whistleblowing is a hard choice to make, regardless of the field. You don’t need to look further than Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden to realize that the potential risks for whistleblowers are immense. After the recent presidential pardon granted by President Obama, Manning will be released in May 2017, after serving 7 years in a military prison under very harsh conditions. Manning spent the first 11 months of her prison term in solitary confinement and was regularly mistreated by the military, being denied even the necessary medical care. Edward Snowden, another famous whistleblower who blew the lid off the United States program of global surveillance and the existence of PRISM, is currently living in Russia, in an undisclosed location. With espionage charges against him, it is doubtful that he will ever set foot on American soil again or see his family and friends. There are plenty of other cases as well, including these 10 Famous Corporate Whistleblowers in Publicly-Traded Companies.
When it comes to whistleblowing in nursing and healthcare, the consequences might not be as severe, but they shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. Regardless of the nature of a crime they are reporting, be it a Medicare fraud or unsafe practices, the consequences will affect whistleblowers’ lives dramatically. There are plenty of cases where whistleblowers were forced to seek court protection from their employers. Some have experienced harassment at work, others lost their job entirely and all had to go through an arduous legal process of proving that they were right to blow a whistle in the first place. The fact that most of them were aware of these consequences and still went through with it only serves to prove that we must protect and reassure these people so that future whistleblowers aren’t discouraged from coming forward with their information.
Fortunately, there are great resources on the Internet that can prepare potential whistleblowers for the blowback, as well as inform them of the proper steps they need to take in order to successfully report any unlawful behavior.