April 21, 2022

Study: Moral distress experienced by nurses on frontlines of COVID-19 pandemic

Editor's Note

In this study, nurse researchers from DePaul University in Chicago document the emotions of 100 nurses throughout the US who cared for patients during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the findings:

  • Nurses described many forms of frustration while providing patient care, such as frustration with healthcare leadership being out of touch with those on the frontlines.
  • Nurses felt powerless to protect themselves and others from contracting COVID-19.
  • Nurses said they were placed in difficult patient care experiences that resulted in guilt about letting patients and their families down as well as other members of the healthcare team.

Based on this study’s findings, healthcare policy and practices should assess and address moral distress in the nursing workforce to improve retention and reduce burnout among nurses in the US, the researchers say.


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