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What problems can a nurse manager face if found guilty of retaliating against another nurse during a peer review?

Friday June 8, 2012
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Dear Nancy,

What problems can a nurse manager face if he or she is found guilty of retaliating against another nurse during a peer review?


Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Abigail,

Your question did not include details about the retaliatory peer review situation, so only a few general responses can be made. It is assumed you are writing about yourself (as the nurse manager) and your motive was discovered in some way, either by oral or written testimony, by someone with whom you work.

Whenever one reports to a body or agency that is responsible for the investigation of conduct by a peer, there always is a requirement that the reporting is made in good faith. This is defined as a state of mind consisting of honesty, faithfulness to one's duty or obligation in a particular situation and absence of an intent to deceive or defraud or to obtain an unconscionable advantage (Black's Law Dictionary, 2nd Pocket Edition, 2001, 307). Because retaliation was your motive, this standard probably cannot be met.

You should seek the advice of a nurse attorney or attorney as soon as possible to provide direction and, if necessary, represent you in this and any additional legal matter that might result. Unfortunately, your credibility and your professionalism will be questioned. The peer review body, in addition to levying sanctions against you, also may report you to the state nursing board.

The defense of your reporting, with the help of your attorney, may be crucial for your future nursing practice.


Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.