Applications and Implications of Whistle-blowing to Nursing Leadership

Applications and Implications of Whistle-blowing to Nursing Leadership

Whistleblowing represents a big dilemma to nursing leadership. When nurses speak up, they sometimes end up paying the price. Nursing code of conduct and ethics provides that nurses have an obligation of being open, honest and act with much integrity while upholding the reputation of their profession. Whistle-blowing in many cases is applied in revealing unethical practices on patients and other misconducts that are contrary to nursing professionalism. When nurses disclose the illegal and immoral practices in the healthcare sector, it may end up being painful at times (Martin, 2014). The effect of being a whistleblower may be categorized into physical, professional and emotional effect. The professional effect may include losing reputation, losing job security and being victimized in the in the sector. Though there are some positive results with whistle-blowing, many of these results are overshadowed by negative results such as transfer from place of work, suspension, and demotion. More so, whistle-blowing impacts negatively on personal life causing emotional and physical symptoms.

The fact that whistle-blowing may make nurses pay costly, the decision to keep quiet in case of illegal actions may weigh heavily on the healthcare industry. The consequences of wrongdoing and harming are well documented in the health sector. Unethical practices result in patients losing dignity, being abused and neglected (Disch, 2014). In certain cases, patients end up dying. These practices are contrary to the ideals of nursing service and other healthcare professions. Reporting these unethical practices is important and is supported by the ethical concepts of nursing (Disch, 2014). Nursing leadership is therefore charged with promoting and maintaining the welfare of a patient by ensuring strict adherence to the code of conduct in the health sector.

In conclusion, Nurses have a duty to develop professional wisdom necessary to make sure that they can sufficiently and courageously speak out on unethical practices within the healthcare organization. Whistle-blowing fulfills the role of advocacy. Whistleblowing has been recognized as a role designated to nurses and as such must be allowed to play this role without victimization since it is fundamentally an ethical role.



Disch, J. (2014). Using Evidence-Based Advocacy to Improve the Nation’s Health. Nurse Leader, 12(4), 28-31

Martin, M. B. (2014). Transcultural Advocacy and Policy in the Workplace: Implications for Nurses in Professional Development. Journal for nurses in professional development, 30(1), 29-33.

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