Public Club

Terminated for whistleblowing


  • Specializes in Orthopedics. Has 7 years experience.

I realize this is long so please bear with me.

I previously worked in the ambulatory setting for a very large hospital system on the Gulf Coast. At the end of February, I was asked by a FNP in my clinic to do something outside the scope of RN practice. I had been at this clinic for almost 4 years and had a good working relationship with her; however I must have caught her on a bad day. After confirming with my nursing coordinator that what she asked me to do was, in fact, not in my scope of practice, I went in to clarify with the provider and explain why I didn’t feel comfortable. Instead of hearing me out, she became very defensive and argumentative. Her husband (also her collaborating physician with whom she shared an office… nepotism anyone?) was in the office at the time and heard the whole thing. I never raised my voice; however I did at one point in our conversation tell her that she was sounding very condescending. I called both my coordinator and my office manager who was on vacation at the time to let them know about the incident. I was told we would figure it out when the OM returned back. 

The next two days I was completely ignored by the provider and her husband/MD (who I work with directly). I was not spoken to, and orders were given to me through multi-skilled technicians (who are unlicensed, BTW, red flag number 2,036). I received an email from my manager, still on vacation, letting us (clinical staff) know that the work flow would be changing to where I essentially had zero interactions with these providers. 

When my manager returned, she never sat down with me to inquire about the incident or hear my side. I was told by her the next morning I was to go home with pay, and when I asked for a reason she could not give me one other than “everyone is walking on eggshells.” I told her the only ones walking on eggshells were the providers because of something I asked for clarification on as I didn’t feel comfortable doing it. She then told me she wished I would have called her before I confronted the provider, and I explained that I talked to Kendall who is my direct clinical contact, and also that I didn’t intend for it to be a confrontation.  

I was then told to report to the office of the director of all clinics the next morning at 8 AM. I collected all documentation I had on the issue and left. I spoke with a lawyer friend letting him know what happened and he provided me with the name of a medical attorney in case things got ugly. I also consulted with multiple nurses including former instructors, all who agreed with me that this was outside the nursing scope. 

On Thursday morning I reported to the clinical director’s office. I was joined by my clinical supervisor and an HR representative. I was given an opportunity to tell my side and provided a written copy of the incident as well. I was then told by the clinical director that if the provider asks me to do something, I need to do it, and that she has been a nurse for xx years and done what I was uncomfortable doing before many times. I told her that I’m still in my early years of nursing and am not comfortable with it, and that I had spoken with my clinical coordinator who advised me that it was not in my scope of practice to do. The coordinator then denied any of this and stated that she never said that, and that she advised against talking to the provider. 

I then asked why I had been summoned to her office. She explained that she sat down with the MD (the provider’s husband) and he brought up two medication errors I made in the past that I did not report. I explained that they were very minor and that he told me not to report at the time and that it would only get me in trouble (one was an error with the wrong vaccine, another was the wrong sample drug but the same classification. Nobody complained, got hurt, or died). In hindsight I will NEVER listen to an MD when the tell me not to report. I was told that the hospital would be reporting myself to the board of nursing and they “highly suggested” I report myself. After seeking l legal council I did not do this as the incidents were not recent nor did the injure/kill anyone. 

Wrapping up, I was sent home on unpaid leave and an investigation ensued. I submitted my own complaint against the providers and provided specific incidences of bullying and nepotism by these two providers. I even provided documentation from 4 years prior from a staff member who experienced something similar. 

A full week later I was called back in the office at 4 pm on a Friday only to be terminated. At this time I was told they WILL be reporting me. I refused to answer any questions regarding whether or not I had reported myself and did not sign anything they requested me to sign. 

I write all this to (1) get it off my chest and (2) show that Vanderbilt is not the only corrupt healthcare system out there. Hospital administration is money hungry, and because this provider’s husband is a money maker for the hospital, I was dismissed and gaslighted into thinking I was the problem instead of them and they continue to practice as if nothing ever happened. 

Something. Must. Change.