Understanding And Addressing Moral Distress

858 WordsOct 4, 20144 Pages
In an article titled “Understanding and Addressing Moral Distress” put out by the American Nurses Association (ANA)/The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing; Moral Distress was defined by Andrew Jameton in 1984 as “a phenomenon in which one knows the right action to take, but is constrained from taking it.” Jameton also added, “Moral distress is different from the classical ethical dilemma in which one recognizes that a problem exists, and that two or more ethically justifiable but mutually opposing actions can be taken” (ANA/OJIN/2010, Jameton, 1984). Within the same article Hardingham, (2004) wrote “Although implied but not explicitly stated in the earlier definition, moral distress involves a threat to one’s moral integrity” (ANA/OJIN/2010, Hardingham, 2004). What are the warning signs of moral distress, and can nurses recognize they are suffering from moral distress? According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) “Addressing moral distress requires making changes” (Nursing Management, 2010, AACN public policy). Simply verbalizing or stating that changes need to be made will not facilitate positive changes unless the nurse first recognizes there is a problem. Moral distress is analogous to burnout as defined in Finkelman and Kenner (2013) burnout is “A deterioration of attitude in which a person becomes tired, defensive, frustrated, cynical, bored, and generally pessimistic about the job; exhaustion of physical or emotional strength” (Finkelman &
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