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  1. Brooke, Penny Simpson APRN, MS, JD

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Having worked in the OR for 8 years, I recently had to testify against a surgeon suspected of operating under the influence of opioids. Since then, some of the other surgeons have told my nurse-manager they don't want me assisting with their patients.

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Trying to keep the peace, my manager has changed my assignments, but that makes me feel like a second-class citizen and could damage my chance for promotion. Do I have any legal recourse to set things straight?-R.W., MO.


Years ago, physicians who cared about safe patient care took the initiative to serve as expert witnesses against dangerous practitioners. Today, nurses who are aware of unsafe practices also have a legal duty to testify honestly. The surgeons at your facility behave as if they have something to hide.


Whether you testified voluntarily or were subpoenaed, legally and ethically you were bound to tell the truth and your employer shouldn't penalize you for it. Your nurse-manager needs a course on employee advocacy. She should stand up to the surgeons and refuse to accommodate their unfair demands.


Your employee evaluations are evidence of your standard of work and the basis for promotions. If you feel that you're being passed over because of your court testimony, follow facility policy for filing a grievance.