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Moral distress: an emerging problem for nurses in long‐term care?

Em Pijl‐Zieber (School of Health Sciences, The University of Lethbridge, Canada)
Brad Hagen (School of Health Sciences, The University of Lethbridge, Canada)
Chris Armstrong‐Esther (School of Health Sciences, The University of Lethbridge, Canada)
Barry Hall (School of Social Work, The University of Calgary, Canada)
Lindsay Akins (The University of Lethbridge, Canada)
Michael Stingl (Department of Philosophy, The University of Lethbridge, Canada)

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults

ISSN: 1471-7794

Article publication date: 1 June 2008

Abstract

Nurses and other professional caregivers are increasingly recognising the issue of moral distress and the deleterious effect it may have on professional work life, staff recruitment and staff retention. Although the nursing literature has begun to address the issue of moral distress and how to respond to it, much of this literature has typically focused on high acuity areas, such as intensive care nursing. However, with an ageing population and increasing demand for resources and services to meet the needs of older people, it is likely that nurses in long‐term care are going to be increasingly affected by moral distress in their work. This paper briefly reviews the literature pertaining to the concept of moral distress, explores the causes and effects of moral distress within the nursing profession and argues that many nurses and other healthcare professionals working with older persons may need to become increasingly proactive to safeguard against the possibility of moral distress.

Keywords

Citation

Pijl‐Zieber, E., Hagen, B., Armstrong‐Esther, C., Hall, B., Akins, L. and Stingl, M. (2008), "Moral distress: an emerging problem for nurses in long‐term care?", Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 39-48. https://doi.org/10.1108/14717794200800013

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited