What's Philosophical About Moral Distress?

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Moral distress is a well-documented phenomenon in the nursing profession, and increasingly thought to be implicated in a nation-wide nursing shortage in the US. First identified by the philosopher Andrew Jameton in 1984, moral distress has also proven resistant to various attempts to prevent its occurrence or at least mitigate its effects. While this would seem to be bad news for nurses and their patients, it is potentially good news for philosophical counselors, for whom there is both socially important and philosophically interesting work to be done. In an effort to encourage such work, this paper explicates the philosophical (as opposed to more purely psychological or institutional) contours of the problem. A subsequent paper, titled 'A Philosophical Counseling Approach to Moral Distress,' will highlight ways in which such a response would differ from the strategies so far deployed within the nursing profession.
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Archival date: 2018-08-03
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