Essay on Moral Distress And Health Care

Essay on Moral Distress And Health Care

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Moral distress occurs is defined by Jameton as, occurring when one knows the right thing to do, but institutional constraints make it nearly impossible to pursue the right course of action. Oncology nurses find themselves struggling with moral distress in an oncology unit, which is where cancer patients are cared for and educated by the nurse. An oncology nurse suffers moral distress when they know the right course of action, but feel powerless to act out the choice because of the institution or its policies, lack of resources, lack of support, or legal limits. Oncology nurses provide care over an extended period of time and often administer aggressive treatments. Oncology nurses witness the implications of life-prolonging interventions that may contradict with the delivery of care. By witnessing the adverse effects of treatment this especially affects the nurse when the goals of care are compassionate rather than curative. Moral distress effects the oncology nurse, their emotions, their relationship with patients, other health providers, or family members.
Moral distress can be grouped into three categories: clinical situations, internal constraints, and external constraints. A clinical situation can be when a patient is given a futile care such as in implications of life prolonging when there is no reasonable hope of a cure or benefit for the patient. Internal constraint could be when the nurse feels powerless. External constraint could be lack of communication between staff.
The literature review will discuss the effects of moral distress on the oncology nurse, their emotions, and their relationship with workers, patients or family members of the patient. Strategies for moral distress in oncology unit will be discussed as we...


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...the oncology nurse is more likely not fear being punished or alienated for questioning interventions done. The oncology nurse feels that they have support and has a say in the decision of the intervention. A manager in an oncology unit can create a system of rotation where nurses are rotated in difficult assignment, thus decreasing the burden of moral distress. Leaders or experienced nurses should serve as role models to novice nurses and encourage them to speak out if any sort of moral distress affects them. Leaders can help out their oncology nurses with moral distress by creating education plans in where nurse are taught how to deal with ethics, learn coping strategies, and having them receive the adequate training. Moral distress in oncology unit affects nurses a lot and more studies should be done to consider how to prevent moral distress in an oncology unit.

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