Moral Distress In Nursing

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Moral Distress: In 1984, Andrew Jameton defined “moral distress” as a phenomenon in which one knows the right action to take, but is constrained from taking it.1There are many causes of moral distress causes and how it is manifested and it can lead to low morale among staff and in some instances can cause employees to quit their job or change their careers. Moral distress has been identified among nearly all healthcare professionals, but most studies have focused on nursing, as it was first recognized among nurses. Moral distress occurs when the healthcare professional comes across a situation where they are forced to choose between what the healthcare provider is best for the patient, but that conflicts with the healthcare organization, the…show more content…
In healthcare they may arise from a situation in which a healthcare worker is involved in a complex situation that involves a mental conflict between moral imperatives, in which more than one right or wrong option is presented to the professional, but to act on one will compromise the other. For example, in some cultures it is wrong and frowned upon to tell someone they are dying, and you as a healthcare worker are unsure how to deal with this. You wrestle with the hard decision whether to tell the patient the truth or conceal the patient diagnosis. Not to tell the patient may compromise the patient best interest in his or her care and telling the patient might violate the patient culture…show more content…
In healthcare, Locus of Authority shifts authority to what is to be done to who has the ultimate moral authority to provide care in the situation. At the center of a locus of authority ethical problem, are two or more authority figures, each with his or her idea of how to handle a certain situation. Only one of the authority figures can prevail.4An example of Locus of Authority in health care would be a newly arrived health care provider treating people in Thyolo, Malawi, and has only been in the country for a couple of months. The health care provider is new to the area and is not very familiar with the Malawian culture, so when the organization is confronted with a situation that seem foreign and contrary to the western culture. In this situation the health care provider who has served the area for years and is very familiar with the people and the culture, will trump the judgement of the new health care provider, although the new health care provider might be more equipped to make the call. This type of problem shifts attention from quandaries regarding what should be done, to a consideration of who has the morally authoritative
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