Internal or external whistleblowing: Nurses' willingness to report wrongdoing

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33 Scopus citations


In Israel, whistleblowing in the nursing profession has been largely ignored. This topic is neither part of the professional-ethical discourse nor a subject for research. Focusing on the divide between internal and external whistleblowing, this article presents a study that explores nurses' willingness to disclose an act that could jeopardize the rights or safety of patients. Internal disclosure entails reporting wrongdoing to an authority within the organization. External disclosure involves reporting the offense to an outside agency, such as a professional organization or the press. The study's findings indicate that the nurse respondents viewed both the harmful misconduct of a colleague and that of a manager as being very serious. In such dilemmas the nurses reported a desire to correct the wrongdoing and a concomitant willingness to act. They were, however, much more likely to whistleblow internally rather than externally. This study revealed a pattern of nurses' progressive retraction as the circle of disclosure widened.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-490
Number of pages8
JournalNursing Ethics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 9 Jul 2010


  • Advocacy
  • Ethical dilemma
  • Reporting misconduct
  • Whistleblowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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