Last week, a whistleblower lawsuit was filed by Kim Cheely, a nurse manager at Georgia Regents Medical Center prior to being fired last October for “insubordination.” In this case, “insubordination” appears to mean that the trusted, 37-year veteran of GRMC dogged management to address quality-of-care concerns related to repeated staff reductions in the oncology and bone marrow transplant units.
The story in The Augusta Chronicle  documents a situation where anything that could go wrong, did. Cheely took every logical step she could to affect change, and thought she would be protected from retaliation by invoking the hospital’s conflict resolution policy. This did not turn out well for Cheely, unfortunately. In fact, to be protected as a whistleblower, you must report to the state or national agency responsible for regulation of your employer.
For anyone considering blowing the whistle, take a look at the flowchart I created from advice offered on the ANA website . The chart, which illustrates just the bare bones, will be available for download later in the week, in case you want to share it with your colleagues.
On a related note: I’m currently reading draft chapters for an upcoming HCPro book, The Nurse Manager’s Legal Companion, by a wonderful nurse and attorney, Dinah Brothers. We’ll also have a handbook for staff nurses. Neither is available for preorder quite yet, but I’ll be sure to let you know when they are.