<New Mexico is a "free will" state which means you are free to be fired at any time with or without reason.>
Not exactly - In New Mexico recently, 6 nurses, represented by the American Nurses Assoc legal team, went to court over this because they WANTED to blow the whistle on a physician at their facility & testify for the pts he harmed but the hosiptal was blocking them & retaliating against them. The court sided with the nurses. Story below:
The American Nurse
NM Whistleblowers Win In Court
A New Mexico judge granted a motion to protect six RNs who acted as whistleblowers against a physician whose alleged incompetent and unprofessional actions plaintiffs say led to the death of a patient.
The six nurses -- all members of the New Mexico Nurses Association (NMNA) -- are either current or former employees of Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, NM. Based on ethical grounds, they testified in support of a lawsuit brought forth by plaintiffs Thomas Smith and Irene Dockray against Lorraine Martinez, DO. Martinez is accused of negligence and incompetence involving Smith's wife, Deborah, who died from sepsis after Martinez allegedly failed to treat her. She also is accused of permanently harming Dockray during a medical procedure.
ANA had filed an amicus brief in support of the nurses that detailed the importance of the Code of Ethics for Nurses and patient advocacy in the context of nursing practice.
"The nurses in this case adhered to the profession's Code of Ethics," said ANA General Counsel Alice Bodley. "Under this Code, they are required to stand up, speak out and protect their patients. The judge's ruling is a victory for the workplace advocacy efforts of the ANA."
Although the parties await a written order, the Hon. Thomas Cornish of the Third Judicial District Court ruled July 6 that he would grant the plaintiffs' motion for rules governing the questioning of nurse witnesses.
The court specifically ruled that Memorial Medical Center could not require its employed nurses to speak only through -- or with -- hospital attorneys. The court also held the hospital accountable for any retaliation against the nurses, stating that retaliatory action will be considered contempt of court. And, despite objections from the hospital, the judge included a charge nurse under this protective ruling.
"This case sends a message in New Mexico and throughout the country that nurses can and will stand up and make their concerns known about inadequate or deficient patient care," said NMNA President Judith Dunaway, MSN, RNC, HNC.
"The nurses tried to work internally through the hospital system, but that system didn't work. When nurses express concern over inadequate care, their concerns should not be ignored. Now the barriers have been removed that would hinder nurses in New Mexico from speaking out for their patients."
ANA President Mary Foley, MS, RN, added, "Nurses should never feel that their jobs or licenses are jeopardized because they speak out against poor medical practice or unsafe patient care. It's our responsibility as nurses to advocate on behalf of our patients."
This ruling not only provides protections for the nurses involved in the case, but also reveals the importance of nurses' ethical requirements and the need for state law and judicial proceedings to protect nurses who speak out on behalf of quality patient care.