Moral distress during psychiatric clinical placements : perspectives of nursing students and their instructors

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Wojtowicz, Bernadine
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Health Sciences, c2012
The purpose of this study is to gain a richer understanding of the experiences of moral distress for nursing students within the context of psychiatric-mental health clinical placements, examine strategies students use to effectively manage distress, and explore student and instructor roles as agents of change to reduce the negative impact of moral distress. Nursing students and instructors engaged in semi-structured interviews and focus groups, respectively, to examine the complexities of this phenomenon. This study utilized second-person action research based on Jürgen Habermas’ Theory of Communicative Action. Findings indicated that nursing students experience moral distress when they are powerless and lack role models to follow in taking action to address situations that are “not right”. Nursing instructors acknowledge their responsibility to prepare students for practice, but are also powerless as “guests” within the practice setting and are powerless to effect change on a hierarchical medical system. Findings indicate that both nursing education and health care institutions must make changes in their approaches to practice if they wish to empower nursing professionals to provide safe, competent, and ethical care to patients.
vii, 139 leaves ; 29 cm
Psychiatric nursing -- Moral and ethical aspects , Psychiatric nursing -- Study and teaching , Psychiatric nurses -- Job stress , Psychiatric nurses -- Training of , Dissertations, Academic