The Experience of Moral Distress in Psychiatric Nurses
Lambour, Stacey, Nursing Practice - School of Nursing, University of Virginia
Barbero, Edie, School of Nursing, University of Virginia
Background: Moral distress has been studied in critical care nurses and has shown to have deleterious effects on nurses’ physical and psychological well-being. To date, little research has been conducted on the experience of moral distress in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses (PMHNs).
Purpose: The purpose of this research is to describe the experience of moral distress in PMHNs.
Method: The study utilized a descriptive cross-sectional electronic survey design to collect demographic data and responses to the Moral Distress Scale for Psychiatric Nurses (MDS-P) in a sample of PMHNs (n=28) drawn from a professional community psychiatric nursing organization in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Results: Moral distress scores for this sample were low to moderate with a mean score of 1.50 (SD=1.31). The lowest score mean score of 0.54 (SD=1.20) was reported for one question related to being honest with the patient. The highest mean score was 3.36 (SD =2.45) was reported for questions related to nurses being treated like a machine. A statistically significant difference (p < 0.05) was found between those who had not considered leaving (total mean MDS-P score of 0.83) and those who left (total mean MDS-P score of 3.03).
Conclusion: This study found low to moderate levels of moral distress in PMHNs in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The results from this sample support other research findings indicating a relationship between moral distress and the intent to leave.
DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
Keywords: moral distress, psychiatric, nurses, Moral Distress Scale for Psychiatric Nurses (MDS-P)
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)