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Reporting Unethical Behavior in the Healthcare Workplace - Know If What You Witnessed Was Wrong

In any workplace, there is bound to be friction and disagreement. However, most people who work in the healthcare industry have a universal desire to help others. When there are ulterior motives or dishonorable intentions involved in interactions between coworkers, this is known as unethical behavior. Working in healthcare can involve challenging circumstances and pressures that test your character on a daily basis. You may feel like you need to constantly walk on eggshells around certain coworkers or fear being labeled as a “snitch” if you report something that seems unethical. But at what point does an employee need to step outside of those fears and report their concerns? It can be difficult to know how much trust you can place in other workers or if you should report them for unprofessional conduct. Here we’ll take a look at some telltale signs of unethical behavior and tips for reporting it.

What Constitutes Unethical Behavior?

Unethical behavior, as the name suggests, is any action that breaks rules or goes against a company’s code of conduct. In the healthcare industry, there are many regulations and policies that govern how you work with patients and your coworkers. Violating any of these rules is considered unethical behavior. As is refusing to adhere to policies that are meant to protect patients from missteps or mistakes. Some examples of unethical behavior include: - Coaching co-workers to perform improper actions. - Falsifying or fabricating records. - Stealing or possessing stolen property. - Hiring and/or assisting employees to bribe caregivers. - Improperly handling disposing of patient waste. - Dishonest behaviour toward coworkers or patients.

Report Bad Behavior Early

Bad behaviour can be the difference between a minor inconvenience and a full-blown disaster. If a colleague is acting unprofessionally, it’s important to report them to your superiors before it becomes a problem. The sooner you report, the sooner it can be dealt with. If you report unethical behavior as soon as you notice it, you’ll minimize the damage. In most cases, company leaders will investigate the situation, address the issue and handle the incident discreetly. When you delay reporting unethical behavior, it can spread through the workplace. As more workers become aware of it and are not disciplined for it, their behaviour becomes more extreme. If you witness someone doing something that is not in the best interests of their patients or the company, you should report the situation immediately. Your first step should be to report the situation to your supervisor or manager. If they are the ones who are acting unethically, then you should report them to someone higher up the chain of command.

How To Report Unethical Behavior

- Determine if it’s worth reporting. Before you report someone, first make sure that they really deserve it. If the unethical behaviour is something that happens once, or only rarely, it might not be worth blowing up into a big deal. - Talk to your manager. If you are not sure how to approach the situation, seek advice from a more senior coworker or manager. - Keep your emotions in check. Remember that you are reporting someone for unprofessional behavior. It does not mean that you do not like the person. - Avoid mentioning names. Avoid mentioning the person by name when you report the situation. Instead, use descriptions to avoid naming names.


In the healthcare industry, unethical behavior can not only harm patients, but also the workers around them. This is why it is so important to report bad behavior as soon as you notice it. Successful companies have a zero tolerance policy for unethical behavior. This may seem like a big step, but the sooner you report it, the sooner it can be dealt with. If you witness bad behavior, report it as soon as possible.

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