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Calling All Clinicians! New call for stories: The Many Faces of Moral Distress Among Clinicians

Narrative Symposium: The Many Faces of Moral Distress Among Clinicians


Edited by Cynda Hylton Rushton, PhD, RN, F.A.A.N. and Renee Boss, MD, MHS

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics will publish an issue devoted to personal stories from clinicians regarding situations that cause moral distress and how they have responded to them. Moral distress arises when professionals find that they are unable to act in accordance with their moral convictions. The focus of this inquiry is on the personal and professional short- and long-term impact of moral distress and the ways that clinicians respond to and make meaning from that distress. Appropriate contributors might include nurses, physicians, social workers, nursing assistants, clinical ethicists, occupational and physical therapists, and professionals in training. We want true, personal stories in a form that is easy to read.

In writing your story, you might want to think about:

  • Which specific clinical situations give rise to moral distress? Why?
  • How do you experience moral distress–physically, psychologically, socially, or spiritually?
  • How do you deal with moral distress? In past distressing situations…
  • Did you take actions that allowed you to uphold your deepest values?  
  • What conditions within yourself the people involved, and the external environment allowed you to do this?
  • How did you make sense of the situation?
  • What  have been the short or long term consequences?
  • Have you ever been professionally disciplined for acting upon your moral conviction?
  • How has moral distress affected your job performance or your commitment to your job? 
  • What has been left undone or been the residual impact?

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.