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The unofficial whistleblower flowchart for nurses

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 whistleblower flowchartthe 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.

Nurses now aim to improve protection for nurse whistleblowers

Earlier this month, Anne Mitchell, a former administrative nurse at Winkler County Memorial Hospital in Kermit, TX, was accused and eventually acquitted  for the “misuse of official information.” If she had been convicted, she would have faced 10 years in prison for reporting Rolando G. Arafiles Jr., MD, to hospital officials.

Mitchell’s acquittal has nurse associations breathing a sigh of relief, but also has associations looking to the future on how to prevent similar cases from happening.

In addition to Texas, only 19 other states have whistleblower protection laws that pertain specifically to healthcare workers in that state. [more]