Moral Distress in Pediatric Healthcare Providers

J Pediatr Nurs. 2015 Nov-Dec;30(6):908-14. doi: 10.1016/j.pedn.2015.03.001. Epub 2015 Apr 11.


Pediatric providers across professions and clinical settings experience moral distress. Higher moral distress correlates with intent to leave for all professionals. Physicians as professional group had the highest moral distress. Intensive care nurses had the highest moral distress for nurses. While all providers describe distressing scenarios as disturbing, physicians report situations as occurring more frequently. The most distressing situations include requests for aggressive treatments not in child's best interest, poor team communication and lack of provider continuity. Understanding moral distress as experienced by all pediatric providers is needed to create interventions with a goal of reducing provider turnover.

Keywords: Intensive care; Moral distress; Pediatric providers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Critical Care / psychology*
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards
  • Delivery of Health Care / trends
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morals*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Occupational Health*
  • Pediatrics
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult