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Nurs Ethics. 2012 Jul;19(4):464-78. doi: 10.1177/0969733012437988. Epub 2012 Jun 12.

Iranian intensive care unit nurses' moral distress: a content analysis.

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Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Researchers have identified the phenomena of moral distress through many studies in Western countries. This research reports the first study of moral distress in Iran. Because of the differences in cultural values and nursing education, nurses working in intensive care units may experience moral distress differently than reported in previous studies. This research used a qualitative method involving semistructured and in-depth interviews of a purposive sample of 31 (28 clinical nurses and 3 nurse educators) individuals to identify the types of moral distress among clinical nurses and nurse educators working in 12 cities in Iran. A content analysis of the data produced four themes to describe the nurses' moral distress. The four themes were as follows: (a) institutional barriers and constraints; (b) communication problems; (c) futile actions, malpractice, and medical/care errors; (d) inappropriate responsibilities, resources, and competencies. The results demonstrate that moral distress for intensive care unit nurses is different and that the nursing leaders must reduce moral distress among nursing in intensive care.

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