Purpose – Why do some healthcare professionals report incidents while others fail to do so? In a previous paper, the authors explored the culture of hospitals in Ireland and the response to those who reported poor care. In this paper the authors aim to advance understanding of reporting behaviour by exploring differences between those who report incidents and those who choose not to report. Design/methodology/approach – An exploratory quantitative research design was utilised for this study. Data from eight acute hospitals in the Health Services Executive (HSE) regions in Ireland – two hospitals from each of the four regions and nursing staff on three wards within each hospital – provided the sample. A total of 575 anonymous questionnaires were distributed. Findings – Eighty‐eight per cent of nurses working in acute hospitals have observed an incident of poor care in the past six months, but only 70 per cent of those reported it. Non‐reporters are significantly more likely than those who have reported incidents to cite “not wanting to cause trouble” and “not being sure if it is the right thing to do” as reasons for their reluctance to report. “Fear of retribution” was the most common reason given by non‐reporters for their reluctance to report. Originality/value – The findings show that reluctance to report is mainly influenced by fears of retribution, not wanting to cause trouble and not being sure if reporting an incident is the right thing to do. Managers and policy makers within healthcare environments need to provide more reassurance for staff and put in place better measures to protect staff from negative repercussions that might arise from whistleblowing.
Clinical Governance: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 12, 2012
Keywords: Incidents of poor care; Whistleblowing; Non‐reporters; Reluctance to report; Anonymous reporting; Service failures; Nursing
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