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Date of Award
Author Requested Restriction
Restrict to UW for 5 years - then make Open Access
Dissertation in Practice
Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD)
Background: Evidence suggests that one in three nurses will experience moral distress, which has been associated with intent to leave, depersonalization of the patient and disengagement with work at some point in their career.
Purpose: The purpose of this narrative inquiry was to identify nurses that have experienced a morally distressing experience in practice and give them the opportunity to share their lived experience and share the impact of their experience. This study provided a better understanding of the complexities of moral distress.
Method: Convenience sampling was used to select the female registered nurse participants. Narrative inquiry was used to collect the experiences of moral distress.
Results: Twelve nurses wrote narratives for this study. Two themes (the voices behind the experience and outcomes of moral distress) and five subthemes were identified. All the participants mentioned that not being heard and silencing of self, contributed to moral distress. Participants also discussed strategies for growth after a morally distressing incident.
Implications for practice: Nurses in many different settings have the potential to experience moral distress. This finding suggests that interventions for moral distress should be considered in any setting. This study also identified the potential to learn and grow from morally distressing experiences.
Conclusions: The impact of self-silencing and the practice of being dismissed should be further explored to truly identify stronger and more effective interventions.
Wareham, Allison, "Examining the Human Experience of Moral Distress: A Narrative Inquiry" (2019). Ed.D. Dissertations in Practice. 30.
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