No one is free when others are repressed.
attributed to Mahatma Gandhi
For a couple of years, I worked in Quality Improvement (QI) for a nursing department. My job was to review error and near miss error reports, tease out the cause(s) and develop strategies preventing error recurrence. I learned a lot of things that helped make patients safer in a hospital. I loved that job.
So, I am concerned about a situation I became aware of last week in a post by Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, AJN interim editor in chief, on the American Journal of Nursing’s blog Off the Chart. In the last paragraph of her post, she discusses the case of two Registered Nurses in Texas, who are facing prosecution as whistle blowers for reporting a physician of behavior they assert is unsafe for patients. Vicki Galle was in charge of the Hospital’s Quality Improvement and Anne Mitchell was the hospital’s Compliance Officer. For readers not involved in health care, this means it was their jobs to investigate hospital safety issues and report noncompliance ( people who aren’t following the rules). Both nurses were terminated from their jobs in June, 2009. Although Texas is a state with laws protecting whistle blowers, the laws do not prevent the physician they reported from filing a harassment suit against the pair. Sounds like another “damned if we do, damned if we don’t” scenario that health care providers can
inadvertently find themselves party to. Please read more about this complex case on the Texas Nurses Association website. There is also link to click which allows you to contribute to the legal defense fund of these two nurses, should you wish.