Whistleblowing takes emotional toll: study

November 2, 2011

Penrith, Australia – Whistleblowing can have an intense, long-lasting emotional and professional impact on employees, according to new research that examined whistleblowing incidents in the nursing industry.

During in-depth interviews with researchers from the University of Western Sydney, whistleblowers and nurses who had been reported by whistleblowers described nightmares, paranoid behavior, alcohol problems and anxiety, according to the study abstract.

Researchers said nurses who blow the whistle on co-workers may not be prepared for the personal, physical and professional effects of their action. As a result, health managers have a responsibility to provide support for both whistleblowers and the affected workers, and nurses should direct workers to appropriate resources, researchers said.

The study appeared in the October issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing.