Critical care nurses' perceptions of and responses to moral distress

Dimens Crit Care Nurs. 2005 Sep-Oct;24(5):229-41. doi: 10.1097/00003465-200509000-00011.


Nurses frequently experience conflict regarding healthcare decisions, yet are expected to implement actions which they perceive to be morally wrong. Research has described the deleterious effects of this moral incongruency, coined moral distress, on nurses' well being and has identified it as a causative agent in nursing turnover, burnout, and nurses leaving the profession. Thus, it is known that moral distress has significant consequences for nurses, but does moral distress affect nurses' provision of care, and if so, how?

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Critical Care*
  • Ethics, Nursing*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Physician-Nurse Relations
  • Stress, Psychological* / prevention & control