Assessing and addressing moral distress and ethical climate Part II: neonatal and pediatric perspectives

Dimens Crit Care Nurs. 2015 Jan-Feb;34(1):33-46. doi: 10.1097/DCC.0000000000000083.


Moral distress remains a pervasive and, at times, contested concept in nursing and other health care disciplines. Ethical climate, the conditions and practices in which ethical situations are identified, discussed, and decided, has been shown to exacerbate or ameliorate perceptions of moral distress. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to explore perceptions of moral distress, moral residue, and ethical climate among registered nurses working in an academic medical center. Two versions of the Moral Distress Scale in addition to the Hospital Ethical Climate Survey were used, and participants were invited to respond to 2 open-ended questions. Part I reported the findings among nurses working in adult acute and critical care units. Part II presents the results from nurses working in pediatric/neonatal units. Significant differences in findings between the 2 groups are discussed. Subsequent interventions developed are also presented.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional
  • Critical Care Nursing
  • Ethics, Nursing*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Middle Aged
  • Morals*
  • Neonatal Nursing*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Pediatric Nursing*
  • Stress, Psychological*