Any nurse who may contemplate taking the step of

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Any nurse who may contemplate taking the step of disclosing to entities or individuals outside their organisation, must consider the limits of the legal protections offered to them. This may require their being educated as to the appropriate persons or authorities covered by the legislation, and cognisance of the legal requirement that they exhaust every avenue internal to their organisation before attempting to raise the matter elsewhere. Ultimately, the decision to whistleblow is a personal ethical choice that cannot be simplified, nor taken lightly. Each nurse, as an individual moral agent, must and will independently weigh up their choices as to whether or not to uphold or deviate from their codes of ethical conduct (if, in fact, they are even aware of them). This brings to the fore one of the most significant findings of this study: there is no evidence in either the BBH or MHS case to suggest that 209 The law was amended in 2007 to include Members of Parliament. Both the Davies (2005) and Forster (2005) Inquiries recommended changes to the Queensland Whistleblowing legislation to include Members of Parliament. In 2005, the only state that afforded protection to those who disclosed to Members of Parliament was New South Wales (Dadic, 2009). 383
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Chapter 8 Analysis and discussion of the findings nursing’s professional ethics played a role in the nurses’ individual decision- making . That is, even though the NMBA (2008, p.2), Code of Ethics includes the ‘responsibility to question and report what they consider, on reasonable grounds, to be unethical behaviour and treatment’ (p. 2) including ‘cases of unsafe, incompetent, unethical or illegal practice’ (p. 3), the nurses in this study did not, at any point, articulate that their actions were motivated in any way by a need to meet this codified professional obligation. Nor was this raised as a possible consideration in the inquiries that followed. In King and Scudder’s (2013) study, a different finding emerged. Sixty– five precent of the participant nurses (n-68) rationalised that ‘a ‘violation of nurses’ professional ethics’ motivated their intention to report wrongdoing (p. 632). While these findings are of interest, these participants were asked to reflect on observed wrongdoing in the previous 12 months and reporting was internal reporting not whistleblowing (King & Scudder, 2013). 210 8.4.6 Impact of professional ethics on ethical reasoning In lieu of any reference to an obligation to uphold professional ethics, there emerges a discourse centred on the nurses’ personal deontic reactions and general expectations that those who transgressed acceptable social conduct and caused harm should and would be censured (Folger, Cropanzano, & Goldman, 2005). The findings of this study indicate that individual human reactions to perceived justice violations and the nurses’ own personal values exerted more 210 In this study nurses were asked to reflect on past episodes in the last 12 months.
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