Trial and retribution: A qualitative study of whistleblowing and workplace relationships in nursing

This paper reports a study aiming to present and describe the effects of whistleblowing episodes on nurses' workplace relationships. Eighteen participants with direct experience of whistleblowing were recruited into the study, which was informed by a qualitative narrative inquiry design. Findings were clustered into four main themes, namely: Leaving and returning to work-The staff don't like you; Spoiled collegial relationships-Barriers between me and my colleagues; Bullying and excluding-They've just closed ranks; and, Damaged inter-professional relationships- I did lose trust in doctors after that. Findings suggest a need to facilitate a climate in which it is safe for nurses (and others) to raise concerns about patient care or organisational wrongdoing, and to eliminate the existing belief that whistleblowing is a negative act fuelled by revenge or sedition. Keywords: whistleblowing; workplace relationships; nurses; confl ict; qualitative study.

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