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Whistleblowing bad behavior or risky situations is a fact that requires great courage since the person puts ethics and good behavior first before the organization and its relationship with the people involved in bad procedures. In fact, according to Miceli et al (1991), people who are more committed to work are more likely to whistleblowing, than people who feel less committed to work.
However, in order to whistleblowing this type of situation, it is necessary to avoid groupthink, since there is a risk that the appropriate decisions will not be made due to pressure from the colleagues themselves, or that they think that the complaining nurse is being unfair or is betraying the organization or the workgroup, it can also happen that if someone in the group was the one who committed the wrong procedure, this person would begin to victimize himself to avoid being reported. For these reasons, it is better to make the decision alone and present the necessary evidence that evidences the situation before the organization or an external regulatory body. (Miceli et al, 1991)
Whistleblowing can create an ethical dilemma that sometimes makes people think about the pros and cons before deciding whether or not to blow the whistle. The main pro of these situations is that whistleblowing the poor performance or fraudulent acts is doing the right thing, and therefore the person can feel good about himself when making the right decision since he is seeking to protect patients and improve the quality of the health service provided. Another point in favor is that legal protection is offered to those who blow this type of activity and it is possible to get to the bottom of the matter with the help of the necessary entities in the event that it is a fraudulent act. (Anvari et al. 2019)
As for the cons, the main factor that affects these decisions is that it can affect the work environment, both with the organization and with co-workers. In some cases, if the evidence of the complaint is not sufficient, the nurse can even lose her or his job. Another very important factor is that it usually produces high levels of stress and anxiety, since it is not known how the situation will be resolved, generating uncertainty in the complainant (McDonald & Ahern, 2000).
In case a nurse comes across a situation that she or he thinks should whistle blow, she or he should initially remain calm and think through whether there really is a problem, if there really is, the nurse should take into account the possible results of whistleblowing such a problem. In case the nurse wants to consult with her or his colleagues, you should avoid groupthink because as mentioned before, this type of thinking tends to complicate the situation. It is important to follow the chain of command to make this type of complaint, and if it is not resolved with the supervisors of the organization, go to external entities (McDonald & Ahern, 2000).
It is essential to know the rights that protect whistleblowers and consider that to obtain protection it is better to contact a state or national regulator. When the case is presented either before the organization or with another external organization, it is important to present only the evidence and leave it to others to interpret the situation, for this reason, it is important to document each step that was taken to carry out the complaint.
Anvari, F., Wenzel, M., Woodyatt, L., & Haslam, S. A. (2019). The social psychology of whistleblowing: An integrated model. Organizational Psychology Review, 9(1), 41–67.
McDonald, S., & Ahern, K. (2000). The professional consequences of whistleblowing by nurses. Journal of Professional Nursing, 16(6), 313-321.
Miceli, M. P., Near, J. P., Schwenk, C. R. (1991). Who blows the whistle and why? Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 45, 113–130. doi:10.1177/001979399104500108
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