How is moral distress perceived and experienced in Northern Ghana? A study of neonatal intensive care and paediatric nurses

Afoko, Vivian ORCID: 0000-0002-0578-8293 (2022). How is moral distress perceived and experienced in Northern Ghana? A study of neonatal intensive care and paediatric nurses. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The experience of moral distress has been studied extensively in developed economies where it was originally conceptualized, however, there is a paucity of studies on moral distress in nurses in developing economies. The goal of this study was to understand the perception and experience of moral distress in nurses working in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and paediatric wards in Northern Ghana. A qualitative descriptive approach was used to collect data from 40 nurses and 14 nurse managers about their experience of moral distress and support measures nurse managers render to nurses who experience moral distress. Thematic analysis showed 7 themes: 1. nurses experienced morally distressing situations, 2. causes of morally distressing situations among nurses, 3. the impact of morally distressing situations on nurses, 4. coping mechanisms of nurses who experienced morally distressing situations, 5. recommendations by nurses to reduce the incidence of morally distressing situations, 6. inadequate support measures offered by nurse managers to address morally distressing situations in nurses and 7. moral distress experienced by nurse managers. The findings of the study were that Ghanaian nurses perceive and experience moral distress, that the contributing factors to moral distress are mainly organizational in origin, and that there are few support measures available to nurse managers to help nurses navigate morally distressing situations on the wards. The effects of moral distress were also highlighted in this study. Lessening the experience of moral distress is critical because of its detrimental effects on nurses and the health care system. Nurses and nurse managers who have been affected by moral distress may leave the nursing profession and this will ultimately add to the problem of a shortage of nurses and nurse managers in Ghana. In the light of these findings more resources are needed by healthcare institutions. Stakeholders in the Ghanaian health care industry should explore coping strategies for moral distress to retain nurses and nurse managers to ensure quality patient care.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Medical & Dental Sciences
School or Department: Institute of Nursing
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Getfund Ghana
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing


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