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Give whistleblowers support, colleagues urged

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Blowing the whistle on a company’s questionable practices can leave long-term damage on someone’s emotional state, and colleagues and employers have a responsibility to offer support, medical experts have claimed.

According to a study in the October issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing, alcoholism, nightmares, paranoid behaviour at work and overwhelming distress were just some of the problems reported by the nurses who had previously blown the whistle. And according to lead author and nurse researcher, Dr Kath Peters, the study highlights “how intense and long-lasting the emotional problems can be”.

“The nurses we spoke to talked about overwhelming and persistent distress, acute anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks and intrusive thoughts,” she added.

“Whistle blowing is an issue for all sectors, not just the medical profession. By its very nature it may lead organisations to adopt a defensive stance to protect their own interests and cast those who blow the whistle as troublemakers. This can generate a hostile work environment and even lead to victimisation, ostracism, exclusionary behaviour, hostility and bullying.”

The study comes in the same week that a nurse unfairly dismissed for criticising conditions at a Southall care home was awarded £15,000 in a recent employment tribunal decisions.

Shanta Sangraula was dismissed by the owners of the Whitefriars Nursing Home in Southall after she raised concerns over abuse of elderly residents by colleagues and poor administration of medicines.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

October 28, 2011 at 10:25 am

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with ,

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