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The Many Faces of Moral Distress Among Clinicians: Introduction

From: Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics
Volume 3, Number 2, Fall 2013
pp. 89-93 | 10.1353/nib.2013.0039

Abstract

Abstract:

This narrative symposium illuminates the problem of clinician moral distress. NIB editorial staff and narrative symposium editors, Cynda Rushton, PhD, RN, FAAN and Renee Boss, MD, MHS, developed a call for stories, which was sent to several list serves and posted on Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics’ website. The request for personal stories from inter–professional healthcare providers asked them to: identify specific clinical situations that give rise to moral distress; discuss the sources of this distress; reflect on how they experienced moral distress—physically, psychologically, socially, or spiritually; assess how they managed their situations; and offer suggestions for avoiding future problems of a similar nature. Twelve stories are found in the print version of the journal and an additional eight supplemental stories are published online only through Project MUSE. The clinicians describe a wide range of experiences with patients, other clinicians, and their own professional and personal identities. Embedded in each of the narratives are deeply felt emotions that accompany their experiences of moral distress. Katherine Brown-Saltzman (a nurse), Alisa Carse (a philosopher), Zhanna Bagdasarov and Shane Connelly (industrial–organizational psychologists), and Nancy Berlinger (a bioethicist) provided commentaries.