Moral Distress In The Nursing Profession

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What is the value of nursing? Nursing is one of the oldest known professions concerned with all variables affecting clients in their environment. They have been in existence since the beginning of time and have evolved through the course of history. According to Charon A. Pierson, author of “A collision of history, controversy and meditation,” women were originally the first nurses and were taught how to treat minor illnesses and other health related complaints as a strategic method to prolong life. As time progressed, “the significance of nurses became more apparent” (Pierson, A Collision of history, controversy and meditation) and thus the building blocks for its formal training were laid out. In being a nurse, there are many responsibilities …show more content…
Most nurses are bombarded with moral distress on a day-to-day basis as it is based on common situations about life itself. Some of these situations include abortion, life support, and raising unrealistic hope to patients and families. In relation to these causes, Johnstone explains that, “Nurses have reported moral distress as a result of crisis which results in the quality of care being compromised and excess errors” (Johnstone, Moral Distress’ – Time To Abandon A Flawed Nursing Construct). In other words, moral distress is acknowledged as one of the major contributor to the loss of integrity and satisfaction of being a nurse. Disregarding the morality of a nurse only makes things worse because it results in nurses leaving their jobs. Additionally, moral distress has been found to affect the overall health status of staff nurses. Johnstone advises that, “Nurses who experience moral distress have reported physical symptoms, such as headache, and stomach problems as well as psychological and emotional symptoms including guilt, depression, and reduced self-worth” (Johnstone, Moral Distress’ – Time To Abandon A Flawed Nursing Construct). It can be said that due to the burden of this crisis, many nurses may end up with suicidal thoughts because of the impact of the negative pressure of the situations they have to deal with. On many occasions they also give up on the profession permanently. Nurses often seem to be unaware of the impact of moral distress which is why an organizational commitment to addressing the issue could acquire benefits with greater employee job satisfaction and ultimately improved patient care. The issue of moral distress can be combatted with moral courage. Johnstone explains that, “Moral courage is the preparedness to speak out against forces that leads us to act in a way that is

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