Moral distress in healthcare assistants: A discussion with recommendations

Journal article


Rodger, D., Blackshaw, B. and Young, A. (2018). Moral distress in healthcare assistants: A discussion with recommendations. Nursing Ethics. 26 (7-8), pp. 2306-2313. https://doi.org/10.1177/0969733018791339
AuthorsRodger, D., Blackshaw, B. and Young, A.
AbstractBackground: Moral distress can be broadly described as the psychological distress that can develop in response to a morally challenging event. In the context of healthcare, its effects are well documented in the nursing profession, but there is a paucity of research exploring its relevance to healthcare assistants. Objective: This article aims to examine the existing research on moral distress in healthcare assistants, identity the important factors that are likely to contribute to moral distress, and propose preventative measures. Research Design: This is a survey of the existing literature on moral distress in healthcare assistants. It uses insights from moral distress in nursing to argue that healthcare assistants are also likely to experience moral distress in certain contexts. Participants and Research Context: No research participants were part of this analysis. Ethical Considerations: This article offers a conceptual analysis and recommendations only. Findings: The analysis identifies certain factors that may be particularly applicable to healthcare assistants such as powerlessness and a lack of ethical knowledge. We demonstrate that these factors contribute to moral distress. Discussion: Recommendations include various preventative measures such as regular reflective debriefing sessions involving healthcare assistants, nurses and other clinicians, joint workplace ethical training, and modifications to the Care Certificate. Implementation of these measures should be monitored carefully and the results published to augment our existing knowledge of moral distress in healthcare assistants. Conclusion: This analysis establishes the need for more research and discussion on this topic. Future research should focus on evaluating the effectiveness of the proposed recommendations.
KeywordsIssues, ethics and legal aspects
Year2018
JournalNursing Ethics
Journal citation26 (7-8), pp. 2306-2313
PublisherSAGE Publications
ISSN0969-7330
1477-0989
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/0969733018791339
Publication dates
Print24 Aug 2018
Online22 Aug 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Aug 2018
Accepted24 Jun 2018
Accepted author manuscript
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Open
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