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Moral Distress: Using Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Interventions to Decrease Nurse Perceptions of Distress

Elizabeth A. Vaclavik
Beth A. Staffileno
Elizabeth Carlson
CJON 2018, 22(3), 326-332 DOI: 10.1188/18.CJON.326-332

Background: Studies have shown that the moral distress experienced by nurses affects patient outcomes and staff engagement.

Objectives: The purpose of this quality improvement initiative was to implement a process for staff to cope with moral distress.

Methods: The 21-item Moral Distress Scale–Revised (MDS-R) was administered pre- and postintervention to a sample of 56 oncology nurses to assess moral distress and whether it was alleviated with the use of mindfulness interventions. Chi-square analysis compared the frequency of morally distressing situations.

Findings: Moral distress was identified, with the finding that mindfulness interventions decreased nurse perceptions of distress. Healthcare providers offering a false sense of hope was the most frequently reported situation. Postintervention MDS-R survey results reflected a decrease in frequency of distress.

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