Moral distress represents the inability of individuals to do what they believe is the right thing to do when faced with an ethical or moral dilemma. All nurses have the potential to experience moral distress, as well as the physical and psychological symptoms associated with this distress. In particular, critical care nurses (CCNs) are more likely to experience moral distress as they practice in fast-paced, unpredictable clinical environments in the course of caring for critically ill patients and the families and loved ones of the patients. The purpose of this phenomenologic, qualitative study was to explore the lived experiences of moral distress in CCNs working in critical care units of hospitals. The study allowed CCNs to share their lived experiences of moral distress and provided an opportunity for participants to identify personal self-care, spiritual, and religious practices as well as institutional efforts and deficiencies in alleviating moral distress in the workplace for nurses. The study sample consisted of 14 CCNs practicing nursing in critical care units in hospitals across the Mid-Atlantic region and the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S. Data revealed common themes with regard to the circumstances under which moral distress is experienced by CCNs, as well as with the coping methods utilized by study participants to relieve moral distress. Study participants revealed a proactive approach to moral distress through the application of the elements of the Framework to Address Moral Distress, an educational and informational offering provided by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). In addition, participants shared their personal interpretation of spirituality and how this operates in their lives, and in the experience of moral distress. Results of this study may offer affirmation to CCNs of the experience of moral distress in the course of nursing practice. Also, CCNs may benefit from the coping strategies of study participants in their efforts to alleviate moral distress as a consequence of their nursing practice.
|Commitee:||Chamberlian, Barbara, Murphy, Aideen, Murray, Robert|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-B 79/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Medical Ethics, Nursing, Spirituality|
|Keywords:||Medical ethics, Moral destress, Nursing, Qualitative, Self care, Spirituality|
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