Healthcare provider moral distress as a leadership challenge

JONAS Healthc Law Ethics Regul. Oct-Dec 2008;10(4):94-7; quiz 98-9. doi: 10.1097/NHL.0b013e31818ede46.


Healthcare leaders are responsible for using strategies to promote an organizational ethical climate. However, these strategies are limited in that they do not directly address healthcare provider moral distress. Since healthcare provider moral distress and the establishment of a positive ethical climate are both linked to an organization's ability to retain healthcare professionals and increase their level of job satisfaction, leaders have a corollary responsibility to address moral distress. We recommend that leaders should provide access to ethics education and resources, offer interventions such as ethics debriefings, establish ethics committees, and/or hire a bioethicist to develop ethics capacity and to assist with addressing healthcare provider moral distress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Burnout, Professional / prevention & control*
  • Ethics Committees / organization & administration
  • Ethics, Institutional / education
  • Ethics, Nursing / education
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Leadership*
  • Morals
  • Nurse Administrators* / ethics
  • Nurse Administrators* / organization & administration
  • Nurse Administrators* / psychology
  • Nurse's Role / psychology
  • Nursing Staff* / education
  • Nursing Staff* / ethics
  • Nursing Staff* / organization & administration
  • Nursing Staff* / psychology
  • Organizational Culture
  • Personnel Turnover