The beliefs of nurses who were involved in a whistleblowing event

Ahern, K. and McDonald, S. (2002) The beliefs of nurses who were involved in a whistleblowing event. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 38 3: 303-309. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2648.2002.02180.x

Author Ahern, K.
McDonald, S.
Title The beliefs of nurses who were involved in a whistleblowing event
Journal name Journal of Advanced Nursing   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0309-2402
Publication date 2002-05-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1046/j.1365-2648.2002.02180.x
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 38
Issue 3
Start page 303
End page 309
Total pages 7
Place of publication Oxford, U.K.
Publisher Blackwell Science
Language eng
Subject C1
370101 Social Theory
750101 Employment
1110 Nursing
Abstract Background. Nursing codes of ethics bind nurses to the role of patient advocate and compel them to take action when the rights or safety of a patient are jeopardized. Reporting misconduct is known as whistleblowing and studies indicate that there are personal and professional risks involved in blowing the whistle. Aim. The aim of this study was to explore the beliefs of nurses who wrestled with this ethical dilemma. Design. A descriptive survey design was used to examine the beliefs of nurses in Western Australia who reported misconduct (whistleblowers) and of those who did not report misconduct (nonwhistleblowers). Methods. The instrument listed statements from current ethical codes, statements from traditional views on nursing and statements of beliefs related to the participant's whistleblowing experience. Respondents were asked to rate each item on a five-point Likert format which ranged from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Data were analysed using a Pearson's correlation matrix and one-way ANOVA. To further explore the data, a factor analysis was run with varimax rotation. Results. Results indicated that whistleblowers supported the beliefs inherent in patient advocacy, while nonwhistleblowers retained a belief in the traditional role of nursing. Participants who reported misconduct (whistleblowers) supported the belief that nurses were primarily responsible to the patient and should protect a patient from incompetent or unethical people. Participants who did not report misconduct (nonwhistleblowers) supported the belief that nurses are obligated to follow a physician's order at all times and that nurses are equally responsible to the patient, the physician and the employer. Conclusion. These findings indicate that nurses may respond to ethical dilemmas based on different belief systems.
Keyword Nursing
Patient Advocacy
Ethical Dilemma
Belief Systems Ethical Codes
Traditional Role Of Nursing
Reporting Misconduct
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 48 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 03:26:10 EST