Moralsk stress blandt sygeplejersker og erfaringens betydning

Studenteropgave: Kandidatspeciale og HD afgangsprojekt

  • Jens Rasmus Pedersen
  • Frederik Ahlstrøm-Jensen
4. semester, Sociologi (cand.scient.soc), Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Moral distress has long been the subject of study in international research, focusing on how healthcare workers in different fields experience psychological and physical consequences, as a result of them not being able to perform the care they ethically feel like they ought to do. Previous research shows that experience is an important factor in, specifically how nurses handle situations of moral distress, leading neophyte nurses to be more vulnerable facing moral distress. This thesis aims to discover how moral distress is experienced between Danish nurses, focusing on how seasoned and neophyte nurses handle moral distress differently, and how the nurse education fails to prepare neophytes for experiencing moral distress. Performing an interview study with a comparative case design of nine interviews of nurses both seasoned and neophytes, this study applies a sociological framework using a deductive hermeneutical approach. The thesis uses Karl E. Weick theory of sensemaking, to examine the Danish nurses use of sensemaking and the meaning they experience in their profession, and Sharon C. Bolton’s theories of emotional labor to understand how nurses treat their patients with an authentic sense of care and use emotional labor as a tool when they treat their patients. These theories contributes with an overall understanding of how the nurse practice is infused with feelings and a higher sense of purpose, and how fragile it makes nurses when they can’t make sense in their practice, nor be emotionally involved with their patients, leading to critical situations such as moral distress.

This thesis finds that nurses experience their work as meaningful, and that they are motivated and feel responsible for their patients’ wellbeing, both medically and emotionally. Nurses are emotionally invested in the quality of their care and are expected to act professionally and emotionally in accordance to different situations in their work. By feeling responsible and being emotionally involved in their care, nurses experience moral distress when they are prohibited in acting according to their values. Nurses are mainly prohibited in their care by time constraints, organizational guidelines and patients and their relatives resisting care. Moral distress influences the nurses’ wellbeing both at work and at home, and effects the care negatively. Seasoned nurses are less affected by morals distress, because they find it easier to make decisions in difficult moral situations, because they tend to be more emotionally distanced from the situation and because they are more attentive to limiting their negative response outside of work. In contrast, neophytes bring unrealistic expectations from their education into the practice, which results in a difficult start because they have not been properly prepared for situations with moral distress.
Udgivelsesdato26 maj 2020
Antal sider78
ID: 333001600