Date of Award
Judith Lothian, Ph.D.
Pamela Foley, Ph.D.
Kristi Stinson, Ph.D.
Kathleen Zavotsky, Ph.D.
COVID-19, pediatric nurse, ethical climate, moral distress
Moral Distress in an increasing problem in nurses and other healthcare professionals due to the many challenges nurses face in proving care to their patients and families. These challenges can be magnified when the nurse is conflicted and unable to successfully navigate the moral and ethical responsibilities of the profession leading to moral distress. The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound and global widespread consequences including the impact on pediatric nurses. This descriptive correlational study examined the relationship between moral distress and ethical climate among pediatric nurses who cared for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study used Corely’s Theory of Moral Distress as the theoretical background to examine this relationship.
The sample consisted of 81 pediatric inpatient nurses from across the US that were recruited by two professional organizations. All participants completed the Measure of Moral Distress – Healthcare Professionals (MMD-HP) the Hospital Ethical Climate Survey (HECS) and a demographic data collection tool developed by this researcher.
The results of this study found a statistically significant inverse relationship between moral distress and perceived ethical climate among the study participants. Other demographic data information was analyzed and there were no significant findings for years of experience, type of education, and type of unit setting. However, there were statistically significant findings for those participants who stated they were considering leaving their position due to moral distress and those that were not, as well as those who stated they received adequate training to COVID-19 patients and those who stated they did not.
This is the first known study to investigate the relationship between moral distress and perceived ethical climate in pediatric nurses who cared for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is not fully in sight, findings of this study will help bring awareness to this issue and promote improving an ethical climate in order to mitigate the feelings of moral distress. This is of paramount importance to mitigate the negative consequence of moral distress among pediatric nurses.
Key words: COVID-19, pediatric nurse, ethical climate, moral distress
Bliss Soriano, Katherine, "Moral Distress and Ethical Climate in Pediatric Nurses in the Time of COVID" (2022). Seton Hall University Dissertations and Theses (ETDs). 3013.