Whistleblowing in Healthcare

At the end of this module participants will be able to identify 4 key shortcomings in healthcare that lead to whistleblowing.


 1. Defining Whistleblowing
 2. Exploring Communication in Healthcare
 3. Exploring Leadership in Healthcare 
 4. Exploring Training in Healthcare
 5. Exploring Financial Constraints in Healthcare
 6. Test your knowledge 
 7. Summary 

*This module should take you between 30-45 minutes 


You will be asked to complete various questions along the way, so pay close attention!

You will be asked to complete various questions (T/F, multiple choice, scenario, matching) along the way, so pay close attention!


Definition of "Whisleblower"

A whistleblower is ...

  • A rat
  • Someone who tried to make things difficult for management
  • Concerned employee
  • A snitch


The choice between reporting someone’s wrong doing or hoping that the person will change and it will go away is complex, and it is further made difficult in the field of health care. 


The definition of whistleblowing predisposes that there are multiple parties involved in the act of making concerns known. It involves the wrongdoer, the whistleblower, the complaint recipient, and the organization itself 

Internal Whistleblowing

Internal Whistleblowers—employees who bring wrongdoing at their own organizations to the attention of superiors.


  • There is no need to wait until issues escalate to become “whistleblowing-worthy”, your organization would be able to use the knowledge of their staff for improving health care delivery

1: Lack of Communication

Communication in Healthcare

Communication is an important aspect of providing good care in hospitals as well as increasing employees job satisfaction. Nurses who feel that they have access to honest and open communication with peers and managers are more likely to stay in an organization for a longer period of time and experience higher job satisfaction 

Informed Consent

Health care consumers are becoming increasingly involved in their own health decisions. Furthermore, informed consent is a critical part of any surgery and for a person to feel fully informed they have to understand the process that will be done to their body and the effect it will have on their mind. In cases where patients are unable to give their own consent such as infants and toddlers, the parents are to make a decision for them.

Communication in Hospitals

  • The connection with doctors prior to surgery
    important aspect of the physician’s job and should be done properly
  • By handing off consent duties to junior staff
    leaders of the surgical field showed a clear lack of importance to the process
  • By praising nurses who communicate
    manager would promote this process and in turn, increase its occurrence on the ward

Good communication is a must!

There needs to be a better understanding from medical professionals that communication is not only a way of increasing patient satisfaction but rather a tool to prevent adverse events and serious harm to patients

2: Lack of Leadership

Defining Leadership in Healthcare

According to Do Rego Furtado et al. (2011), leadership is the interpersonal influence exercised in a given situation through a process of communication in order to reach a given goal.

In healthcare leadership can be defined as a process by which an individual influences the action of others in determining objectives, defining actions, and planning in a dynamic scenario.

5 styles of Transformational Leadership

Research suggest that transformational leadership model is the gold standard in health care organizations 

Transformational leadership can further be divided into five different styles:

1. Intellectual simulation

2. Individual consideration

3. Inspirational motivation

4. Idealized influence

5. Attributed charisma 

True or False

  • Currently there are no available resources for leaders in the nursing community, which encompasses the passionate side of patient care and the financial goals of the organization

5 Main Feature of Transformational Leadership Model

  • _______ employees to set their future goals based on the vision of an organization
  • ______ the way by setting an example
  • challenging the process by looking for ways to ______
  • using ______ to be optimistic and encouraging
  • enabling staff to make ______ decisions

3: Lack of Training

Training in Healthcare

As educated individuals, nurses should be able to determine when certain care is outside of their training or comfort zone. 

True or False

  • One way to increase harm to patients is to invest in hospital-wide education and proper training

Training Options in Healthcare

Research shows that stimulation training can help increase knowledge, post-test scores, as well as nurse confidence and self-efficacy

True or False

  • It is observed through studies that the higher number of nurses per patient volume or procedure in an indicator in decreasing failure to rescue a patient in a critical state

4: Financial Constraints

Financial Constraints

Some hospitals are successful in balancing the budget, however problems in the hospital are not being addressed and there are clear lack of quality in care. Employees who observe harmful financial constraints should address management. 

What do you think?

  • The physicians’ ability to direct the use of healthcare resources and understand the cost, charges and reimbursements DOES NOT have the ability to save money for hospitals

Do you believe that leadership in healthcare should consult front line staff when making financial decisions? WHY?

Financial Constraints Facts

A study conducted in The United States found that post-operation complications could cost a hospital on average $11,500 dollars per person. 

Hospitals which ensures quality of patient care, will also save financial heartache.

Test Your Knowledge

“... there was some skepticism attached to information received in conversations with colleagues from other centers, as people did not normally like to talk about problems faced during operations” This scenario showcases...

  • Lack of Communication
  • Lack of leadership
  • Lack of training
  • Financial Constraints

“The culture in the department declined to the point where staff were scared of the Sisters and afraid to speak out against the poor standard of care the patients were receiving in case they incurred the wrath of the Sisters" This scenario showcases...

  • Lack of Communication
  • Lack of Leadership
  • Lack of Training
  • Financial Constraints

“If an acute hospital loses even 2% of its income without having planned for this, its finances will be in serious difficulties, and it will often respond to that by removing staff throughout the organization”. This situation showcases...

  • Lack of Leadership
  • Lack of Communication
  • Lack of Training
  • Financial Constraints

"Involvement of clinicians in management, to which Dr Roylance responded positively, no thought or attention seem to have been given to the fact that management requires particular skills" This situation showcases...

  • Lack of Training
  • Financial Constraints
  • Lack of Leadership
  • Lack of Communication



What you have learned so far...




1. A whistleblower (whistle-blower or whistle blower) is a person who exposes any kind of information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within an organization that is either private or public.


2. Communication is an important aspect of providing good care in hospitals as well as increasing employees job satisfaction.


3. In healthcare leadership can be defined as a process by which an individual influences the action of others in determining objectives, defining actions, and planning in a dynamic scenario.

Financial Constraints

4. When a hospitals are going through major changes, it is important to have leaders who support their employees to question new changes and set their personal goals to the mission of the hospital. The mission of a hospital should focus on patient care and not financial constraints. 


5. One way to reduce harm to patients is to invest in hospital-wide education and proper training.



Banyte, I. (2015). Whistleblowing and Transformational Leadership Model in Healthcare. Unpublished manuscript, Brighton University, Brighton, UK. 

















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