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Healthcare Provider Moral Distress as a Leadership Challenge

Bell, Jennifer MA; Breslin, Jonathan M. PhD

JONA's Healthcare Law, Ethics, and Regulation: October-December 2008 - Volume 10 - Issue 4 - p 94-97
doi: 10.1097/NHL.0b013e31818ede46
ARTICLES

Healthcare leaders are responsible for using strategies to promote an organizational ethical climate. However, these strategies are limited in that they do not directly address healthcare provider moral distress. Since healthcare provider moral distress and the establishment of a positive ethical climate are both linked to an organization's ability to retain healthcare professionals and increase their level of job satisfaction, leaders have a corollary responsibility to address moral distress. We recommend that leaders should provide access to ethics education and resources, offer interventions such as ethics debriefings, establish ethics committees, and/or hire a bioethicist to develop ethics capacity and to assist with addressing healthcare provider moral distress.

Author Affiliations: University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Ms Bell and Dr Breslin); and North York General Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Dr Breslin).

Corresponding author: Jennifer Bell, MA, University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1L4 (jah.bell@utoronto.ca).

Disclosure of funding: none to declare.

Potential conflict of interest: Jonathan M. Breslin, PhD, is a bioethicist employed by North York General Hospital, and Jennifer Bell, MA, is a fellow in clinical and organizational ethics at the University of Toronto.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.