Moral distress and compassion fatigue in patient care: a correlational study on nurses

Mohammadi, S. and Borhani, F. and Roshanzadeh, L. and Roshanzadeh, M. (2014) Moral distress and compassion fatigue in patient care: a correlational study on nurses. Iranian Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, 7 (2).


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Moral distress is one of the ethical challenges that nurses face due to the nature of their career. Nurses' frequent confrontation with this phenomenon can have different outcomes such as frustration and boredom in providing patient care. This will lead directly to a decline in care quality and can hamper the accomplishment of health goals. Therefore, the present study examined the relationship between moral distress and compassion fatigue in nurses. This cross-sectional study was conducted on 260 nurses of intensive care units in Kerman who were selected through convenience sampling method. In this study, Corley’s moral distress scale and Figley’s Compassion Fatigue Scale were used for data collection. The collected data were analyzed using the SPSS software and descriptive and analytical statistics. The results of this study indicate that there is a significantly positive relationship between moral distress and compassion fatigue (P<0.05). From a total range of 0 to 5, the average score of moral distress was 3.5±0.8 in terms of intensity, and 3.9±0.55 in terms of frequency. The mean of compassion fatigue score was 3.5±0.68 from a range of 0 to 5. Moral distress and its association with compassion fatigue suggest that conditions contributing to moral distress can have an important role in the quality of care. It is clear that strategies should be adopted to prevent the occurrence of these conditions. Informing nurses about moral distress and its consequences as well as periodic consultations will play an important part in the identification and management of moral distress and its consequences.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Keywords: moral distress, compassion fatigue, quality of care, intensive care unit nurses, nursing ethics
Subjects: WM Psychiatry
WY Nursing
Divisions: Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery
Depositing User: zahra bagheri .
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2017 05:27
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2017 05:27

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