American Journal of Bioethics 16 (12):17-19 (2016)

Sven Nyholm
Utrecht University
Stephen Campbell, Connie Ulrich, and Christine Grady argue that we need to a broader understanding of moral distress – broader, that is, than the one commonly used within nursing-ethics and, more recently, healthcare ethics in general. On their proposed definition, moral distress is any self-directed negative attitude we might have in response to viewing ourselves as participating in a morally undesirable situation. While being in general agreement with much of what Campbell et al. say, I make two suggestions. First, in order to distinguish moral distress that is specifically related to the roles and responsibilities of healthcare-workers from other kinds of moral distress, it would be useful for the broadened definition to contain an explicit reference to the distinctive situation and challenges faced by healthcare-workers. Second, whereas Campbell et al. write in a manner that suggests that there is very little that is positive or redeeming about moral distress, we should also ask if there is anything morally good about such distress. I suggest that the disposition to respond with moral distress to situations that call for it can plausibly be seen as a virtue on the part of healthcare-workers. The moral value of responses of appropriate moral distress is positive (because it is a display of virtue on the part of the healthcare-worker), whereas the state of affairs that moral distress is called for is bad and regrettable.
Keywords Moral distress  Nursing-ethics  Healthcare-ethics  Virtue
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DOI 10.1080/15265161.2016.1239786
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References found in this work BETA

Moral Distress Reconsidered.Joan McCarthy & Rick Deady - 2008 - Nursing Ethics 15 (2):254-262.
Moral Hazard in Pediatrics.Donald Brunnquell & Christopher M. Michaelson - 2016 - American Journal of Bioethics 16 (7):29-38.

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Citations of this work BETA

What's Philosophical About Moral Distress?Nancy J. Matchett - 2018 - Philosophical Practice: Journal of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association 2 (13):2108-19.

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Moral Distress Reconsidered.Joan McCarthy & Rick Deady - 2008 - Nursing Ethics 15 (2):254-262.
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