Patient Advocacy Protections
Nurses who report (within the facility or to an outside agency) any situation they believe exposes a patient to harm, are protected from retaliation.
Click here for the checklist of things every whistle blower should know.
TNA believes patients are best served when nurses can be patient advocates without fear of retaliation. Advocating for the profession includes supporting a regulatory environment that protects nurses when advocating for their patients. TNA has advocated legislatively for over 20 years to make this a reality for Texas nurses.
Protections from Retaliation
TNA’s first legislative initiative to protect the right of nurses to be patient advocates was in 1987 when it successfully advocated for protections for nurses, who reported a licensed health care practitioner or facility to their licensing agency. This was followed by initiatives in 1995 (protections for refusal to engage in reportable conduct), 1997 (safe harbor nursing peer review), 1999 (protections from retaliation with negative job reference), 2002 (protections included in hospital staffing rules for raising staffing concerns), 2003 (protection when reporting patient care concerns within a facility) and 2007 (clarifying and enhancing protections). The table below sets out the patient advocacy and whistle-blower protections available to Texas nurses (RNs and LVNs) as a result of these TNA initiatives.
Remedies if Retaliation Occurs
Sec. 301.413 of the Nursing Practice Act sets out the remedies available to nurses who are retaliated against. It authorizes a civil lawsuit for damages (minimum recovery of $5000), attorney fees, and exemplary damages. It also creates a presumption that any disciplinary action taken against a nurse within 60 days of the nurse’s reporting the conduct or raising the patient care concern was taken in retaliation against the nurse. The facility then has the burden of proving otherwise. A nurse also can report the facility or any individual health care practitioner involved in the retaliation to the appropriate licensing agency.
Download Whistler Blower Conduct and Protections list