University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org
Healthcare leaders are responsible for using strategies to promote an organizational ethical climate. However, these strategies are limited in that they do not directly address healthcare provider moral distress. Since healthcare provider moral distress and the establishment of a positive ethical climate are both linked to an organization's ability to retain healthcare professionals and increase their level of job satisfaction, leaders have a corollary responsibility to address moral distress. We recommend that leaders should provide access to ethics education and resources, offer interventions such as ethics debriefings, establish ethics committees, and/or hire a bioethicist to develop ethics capacity and to assist with addressing healthcare provider moral distress.
Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics and Clarian Health, Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA. email@example.com
Unit-based ethics conversations (UBECs) provide nurses with an opportunity for meaningful conversation about the ethical issues they face in routine clinical practice. The goal of the program is to increase participants' abilities and confidence in dealing with ethically challenging situations. This article reviews results from a formal evaluation of UBECs at one organization. The results of this evaluation suggest the UBEC program provides a transformational ethics experience for nurses.
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University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics, 88 College Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1L4, Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org.
BACKGROUND There are numerous ethical challenges that can impact patients and families in the health care setting. This paper reports on the results of a study conducted with a panel of clinical bioethicists in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the purpose of which was to identify the top ethical challenges facing patients and their families in health care. A modified Delphi study was conducted with twelve clinical bioethicist members of the Clinical Ethics Group of the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics. The panel was asked the question, what do you think are the top ten ethical challenges that Canadians may face in health care? The panel was asked to rank the top ten ethical challenges throughout the Delphi process and consensus was reached after three rounds. DISCUSSION The top challenge ranked by the group was disagreement between patients/families and health care professionals about treatment decisions. The second highest ranked challenge was waiting lists. The third ranked challenge was access to needed resources for the aged, chronically ill, and mentally ill. SUMMARY Although many of the challenges listed by the panel have received significant public attention, there has been very little attention paid to the top ranked challenge. We propose several steps that can be taken to help address this key challenge.
Hum Factors. 2012 Jun ;54 (3):387-95 22768641
Analysis of Field Evaluations Branch, Division of Safety Research, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1095 Willowdale Road, M/S 1811, Morgantown, West Virginia 26505, USA. email@example.com
OBJECTIVE The purpose of this evaluation was to evaluate the causes and costs of slips, trips, and falls (STFs) in a helicopter manufacturing plant. BACKGROUND STFs are a significant portion of the total industry injury burden. METHOD For this study, 4,070 helicopter plant workers who were employed from January 1, 2004, through February 28, 2008, were enrolled. Company records on workers' compensation claims, occupational health first report of injury, and payroll records on hours worked were collected. Cause and source of all injuries, including STFs, were coded for analysis. RESULTS During the 4-year study period, there were 2,378 injuries and 226 STFs (46 falls [20%] to a lower level, 117 [52%] falls on the same level, 41 [18%] from loss of balance without a fall, and 22 [10%] from other events). Of the 226 STFs, 123 falls to the same level were caused by slippery substances (52), objects on floor (43), and surface hazards (28), and they cost $1,543,946. Falls to lower levels primarily involved access to stands to and from aircraft and falling off large machines. CONCLUSION More than half of the STF injury claims likely could have been prevented by housekeeping and maintenance, and this cost saving could reasonably offset a considerable portion of the cost of prevention. Training and stand modifications could be considered to prevent falls from elevation from stands, machines, and aircraft. APPLICATION Recommendations for STF prevention are discussed.
Lindsey L Saint, Marci S Bailey, Sunil Prasad, Tracey J Guthrie, Jennifer Bell, Marc R Moon, Jennifer S Lawton, Nabil A Munfakh, Richard B Schuessler, Ralph J Damiano Jr, Hersh S Maniar
Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Saint Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.
BACKGROUND This study compared Cox-Maze IV (CMIV) outcomes for the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients with lone AF vs those with AF and mitral valve (MV) disease. METHODS Since 2002, 200 patients have undergone a CMIV procedure for lone AF (n=101) or concomitantly with MV operations (n=99). Preoperative, perioperative, and late outcomes between these groups were compared. Data were collected prospectively and reported at 3, 6, and 12 months. RESULTS Lone AF patients had AF of longer duration; patients with AF and MV disease were older, with larger left atria and worse New York Heart Association classification (p<0.05). Operative mortality (1% vs 4%, p>0.05, respectively) was similar between both groups. Perioperative atrial tachyarrhythmias were more prevalent in patients with concomitant MV operations (57% vs 41%, p=0.03); however, freedom from AF and antiarrhythmics was similar for both groups at 12 months (76% and 77%). The only predictor for atrial tachyarrhythmia recurrence or arrhythmic drug dependence was failure to isolate the posterior left atrium (p<0.01). CONCLUSIONS Patients with AF and MV disease have distinct comorbidities compared with patients with lone AF. However, the CMIV is safe and effective in both groups and should be considered for patients with AF undergoing MV operations. Patients with MV disease had more atrial tachyarrhythmias at 3 months, but freedom from AF and antiarrhythmics was similar to patients with lone AF at 1 year. The posterior left atrium should be isolated in every patient, because this was the only predictor for failure of the CMIV for either group.
A comparison of surgical intervention and stereotactic body radiation therapy for stage I lung cancer in high-risk patients: a decision analysis.
Varun Puri, Traves D Crabtree, Steven Kymes, Martin Gregory, Jennifer Bell, Jeffrey D Bradley, Clifford Robinson, G Alexander Patterson, Daniel Kreisel, Alexander S Krupnick, Bryan F Meyers
Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63110, USA.
OBJECTIVE We sought to compare the relative cost-effectiveness of surgical intervention and stereotactic body radiation therapy in high risk patients with clinical stage I lung cancer (non-small cell lung cancer). METHODS We compared patients chosen for surgical intervention or SBRT for clinical stage I non-small cell lung cancer. Propensity score matching was used to adjust estimated treatment hazard ratios for the confounding effects of age, comorbidity index, and clinical stage. We assumed that Medicare-allowable charges were $15,034 for surgical intervention and $13,964 for stereotactic body radiation therapy. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was estimated as the cost per life year gained over the patient's remaining lifetime by using a decision model. RESULTS Fifty-seven patients in each arm were selected by means of propensity score matching. Median survival with surgical intervention was 4.1 years, and 4-year survival was 51.4%. With stereotactic body radiation therapy, median survival was 2.9 years, and 4-year survival was 30.1%. Cause-specific survival was identical between the 2 groups, and the difference in overall survival was not statistically significant. For decision modeling, stereotactic body radiation therapy was estimated to have a mean expected survival of 2.94 years at a cost of $14,153 and mean expected survival with surgical intervention was 3.39 years at a cost of $17,629, for an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $7753. CONCLUSIONS In our analysis stereotactic body radiation therapy appears to be less costly than surgical intervention in high-risk patients with early stage non-small cell lung cancer. However, surgical intervention appears to meet the standards for cost-effectiveness because of a longer expected overall survival. Should this advantage not be confirmed in other studies, the cost-effectiveness decision would be likely to change. Prospective randomized studies are necessary to strengthen confidence in these results.
Tri Rivers Surgical Associates, Inc, Mars, Pennsylvania, USA.
The flexor digitorum accessory longus (FDAL) muscle is one of the most commonly encountered anomalous muscles in the foot and ankle. Literature has documented the prevalence of the FDAL anywhere from 4% to 12%, based on cadaveric limb dissection. The variability of the origin, insertion, size, and location of the FDAL muscle can cause a wide array of foot and ankle pathologies, most notably, tarsal tunnel syndrome and flexor hallucis longus syndrome. Accessory musculature should be included in the list of differential diagnoses for foot and ankle pain until proven otherwise. This report presents a patient who exhibited pain localized to the medial malleolar region and was initially diagnosed with likely tarsal tunnel syndrome. On magnetic resonance imaging, a FDAL muscle was identified and shown to be impinging on the posterior medial anatomic structures. The patient underwent excision of the FDAL and is symptom free to date. The discussion of this case report can prompt foot and ankle surgeons to be more aware of this infrequent finding as well as treatment options. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic, Level IV.
Am J Bioeth. 2011 Aug ;11 (8):33-5 21806437
Authenticity as a necessary condition for voluntary choice: a case study in cancer clinical trial participation.
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z2, Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org
Characterisation of airborne particles and associated organic components produced from incense burning.
School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK.
Airborne particles generated from the burning of incense have been characterized in order to gain an insight into the possible implications for human respiratory health. Physical characterization performed using field-emission scanning electron microscopy showed incense particulate smoke mainly consisted of soot particles with fine and ultrafine fractions in various aggregated forms. A range of organic compounds present in incense smoke have been identified using derivatisation reactions coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis. A total of 19 polar organic compounds were positively identified in the samples, including the biomass burning markers levoglucosan, mannosan and galactosan, as well as a number of aromatic acids and phenols. Formaldehyde was among 12 carbonyl compounds detected and predominantly associated with the gas phase, whereas six different quinones were also identified in the incense particulate smoke. The nano-structured incense soot particles intermixed with organics (e.g. formaldehyde and quinones) could increase the oxidative capacity. When considering the worldwide prevalence of incense burning and resulting high respiratory exposures, the oxygenated organics identified in this study have significant human health implications, especially for susceptible populations.
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2011 ;707 :63-5 21691957
Androgen receptor mutations associated with androgen insensitivity syndrome: a high content analysis approach leading to personalized medicine.
Adam T Szafran, Huiying Sun, Sean Hartig, Yuqing Shen, Sanjay N Mediwala, Jennifer Bell, Michael J McPhaul, Michael A Mancini, Marco Marcelli
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, 77030, USA, email@example.com.
Physical change and aging: a guide for the helping professions, by s. V. Saxon, m. J. Etten, and e. A. Perkins.
Roland Park Place, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the past decade, the strategy of 'denormalising' tobacco use has become one of the cornerstones of the global tobacco control movement. Although tobacco denormalisation policies primarily affect people on the lowest rungs of the social ladder, few qualitative studies have explicitly set out to explore how smokers have experienced and responded to these legislative and social changes in attitudes towards tobacco use. Drawing on a qualitative study of interviews with 25 current and ex-smokers living in Vancouver, Canada, this paper examines the ways they interpret and respond to the new socio-political environment in which they must manage the increasingly problematised practice of tobacco smoking. Overall, while not opposed to smoking restrictions per se, study participants felt that recent legislation, particularly efforts to prohibit smoking in a variety of outdoor settings, was overly restrictive and that all public space had increasingly been 'claimed' by non-smokers. Also apparent from participants' accounts was the high degree of stigma attached to smoking. However, although the 'denormalisation' environment had encouraged several participants to quit smoking, the majority continued to smoke, raising ethical and practical questions about the value of denormalisation strategies as a way of reducing smoking-related mortality and morbidity.
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J Perinat Educ. 2009 ;18 (1):48-50 19436593
MARILYN CURL is a member of the Lamaze International Board of Directors. She is also a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and a certified nurse-midwife currently employed as a labor and delivery nurse at a teaching hospital located in the U.S. Midwest.
Childbirth educators who express frustration with the perceived lack of power in their practice may be suffering from moral distress. Although the impact of moral distress has not been thoroughly explored among health-care professionals, the topic is emerging as an important ethical concept. In this article, the concept of moral distress is explored, and suggestions are made for moving from moral distress to moral action.
J Adv Nurs. 2009 Apr ;65 (4):885-92 19243462
Department of Health Systems Management, Yezreel Valley College, Emek Yezreel, Israel. email@example.com
AIM This paper is a report of a study to develop and test the psychometric properties of a culture-sensitive moral distress questionnaire among nurses employed in a variety of work settings. BACKGROUND In the course of the last decade, there has been increased interest in capturing healthcare professionals' experiences of stress associated with ethical dilemmas. Ethical issues emerge in grey areas and are often blurred, and have thus received insufficient attention. METHOD The study comprised two phases: a qualitative phase to elicit the culture-specific themes and a quantitative phase, comprising the design of a 15-item questionnaire. The questionnaire was then completed by a convenience sample of 179 nurses from a variety of work settings. The data were collected in 2006. RESULTS Factor analysis resulted in three factors representing moral distress:(1) problems caused by work relationships among staff;(2) problems due to lack of resources; and (3) problems caused by time pressure. With regard to the construct validity of the questionnaire, differences between community and hospital nurses were tested, and a statistically significant difference was found between them in two among the three factors (relationships and time). The stability of the measures was examined by test-retest reliability and revealed statistically significant results. CONCLUSIONS The instrument exhibits acceptable reliability and validity in the Israeli cultural context. Further research is needed to evaluate the measure in other cultural settings.
University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org
A summary of the existing literature related to moral distress (MD) and the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) reveals a high-tech, high-pressure environment in which effective teamwork can be compromised by MD arising from different situations related to: consent for treatment, futile care, end-of-life decision making, formal decision-making structures, training and experience by discipline, individual values and attitudes, and power and authority issues. Attempts to resolve MD in PICUs have included the use of administrative tools such as shift worksheets, the implementation of continuing education, and encouragement to report. The literature does not yet show these approaches to be effective in the resolution of MD. The need to acknowledge MD among PICU teams is discussed and an argument made that, to facilitate understanding among team members, practice stories need to be shared.
Moral distress in the third year of medical school; a descriptive review of student case reflections.
Department of Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Room D5203 MCN, Nashville, TN 37232-2577, USA. email@example.com
BACKGROUND Medical students may find certain clinical experiences particularly difficult. Moral distress occurs when a trainee sees a situation or behavior as undesirable, but, because of a position in the hierarchy, declines to address the problem. To prompt our students to reflect on such experiences, students are required to submit a brief case description and are assigned to mentor groups to discuss cases. METHODS After exemption from our Institutional Review Board, a database of student submissions was de-identified. A total of 192 case descriptions were analyzed by a single reviewer to identify recurrent themes. Submissions were categorized in a binary fashion as higher or lower levels of distress. Frequency and correlation with levels of distress were assessed for each theme. RESULTS Sixty-seven percent of the submissions were classified as higher distress. Seven major themes were identified, the most common being problems of communication (n = 179). Those students taking action correlated to lower distress. CONCLUSIONS Our review shows that specific situations can be expected to generate moral distress in trainees. Addressing such distress may support the ongoing professional growth of trainees.
Department of Paediatrics.
BACKGROUND Paediatric residents experience numerous ethical conflicts; some of these are experienced by all paediatricians, while others are specifically related to residency training. It has been reported that medical students often feel that they are placed in positions that compromise their own ethical principles. A study in the United States showed that interns frequently face examples of unethical and/or unprofessional conduct among staff. OBJECTIVES To identify the ethical conflicts and moral distress experienced by paediatric residents during their training. METHODOLOGY Data were collected from four focus groups, which were organized according to the four separate years of residency training. Focus groups consisting of four to 10 participants were led by a research assistant. The focus groups were recorded by an audio device and transcribed verbatim; all data that would identify any of the participants or staff were eliminated. Data analysis involved a modified thematic analysis. The study was approved by the Research Ethics Board at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario. RESULTS While residents occasionally face traditional paediatric ethical issues, such as 'do not resuscitate' orders, more often they experience conflicts because of their inexperience and their place in the hierarchy of the medical care team, particularly when there is disagreement between trainees and senior staff. Their ability to deal and cope with these issues changes as they go through their training. Many residents in the first part of their training were more frustrated and confused with ethical conflicts. In these cases, residents found their best support from their peers and other senior residents. Residents in the later years of training seemed more accustomed to ethical issues. Furthermore, almost all of the residents believed that other members of their health care team have acted in an unethical or unprofessional way. CONCLUSION Paediatric residents experience significant ethical conflicts and moral distress. Understanding these ethical issues will help those responsible for postgraduate medical education to review or revise the ethics curriculum in keeping with the current moral distress experienced by residents, and help to mentor and guide trainees.
Dimens Crit Care Nurs. ;27 (6):263-7 18953194
Innovative solutions: the effect of a workshop on reducing the experience of moral distress in an intensive care unit setting.
Jewish Hospital, 4777 East Galbraith Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45236, USA. BeumerCM@healthall.com
Moral distress is the knowledge of the ethically appropriate action to take but the inability to act upon it. This phenomenon is one experienced in the critical care setting. To help staff members cope with moral distress, a team conducted workshops at one facility to help the staff identify and cope with this distress. The workshop consisted of discussions of distressing situations in the intensive care unit, didactic information on moral distress, formulation of an individual plan to reduce stress, and strategies to deal with moral distress in the intensive care unit. This article discusses the workshop and its effect on participants' coping with moral distress.
Section for Medical Ethics, University of Oslo, PO Box 1130 Blindern, NO0318 Oslo, Norway. firstname.lastname@example.org
BACKGROUND: Medicine is full of value conflicts. Limited resources and legal regulations may place doctors in difficult ethical dilemmas and cause moral distress. Research on moral distress has so far been mainly studied in nurses. OBJECTIVE: To describe whether Norwegian doctors experience stress related to ethical dilemmas and lack of resources, and to explore whether the doctors feel that they have good strategies for the resolution of ethical dilemmas. DESIGN: Postal survey of a representative sample of 1497 Norwegian doctors in 2004, presenting statements about different ethical dilemmas, values and goals at their workplace. RESULTS: The response rate was 67%. 57% admitted that it is difficult to criticize a colleague for professional misconduct and 51% for ethical misconduct. 51% described sometimes having to act against own conscience as distressing. 66% of the doctors experienced distress related to long waiting lists for treatment and to impaired patient care due to time constraints. 55% reported that time spent on administration and documentation is distressing. Female doctors experienced more stress that their male colleagues. 44% reported that their workplace lacked strategies for dealing with ethical dilemmas. CONCLUSION: Lack of resources creates moral dilemmas for physicians. Moral distress varies with specialty and gender. Lack of strategies to solve ethical dilemmas and low tolerance for conflict and critique from colleagues may obstruct important and necessary ethical dialogues and lead to suboptimal solutions of difficult ethical problems.
Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba, QLD, Australia. email@example.com
Increased technological and pharmacological interventions in patient care when patient outcomes are uncertain have been linked to the escalation in moral and ethical dilemmas experienced by health care providers in acute care settings. Health care research has shown that facilities that are able to attract and retain nursing staff in a competitive environment and provide high quality care have the capacity for nurses to process and resolve moral and ethical dilemmas. This article reports on the findings of a systematic review of the empirical literature (1980 - February 2007) on the effects of unresolved moral distress and poor ethical climate on nurse turnover. Articles were sought to answer the review question: Does unresolved moral distress and a poor organizational ethical climate increase nurse turnover? Nine articles met the criteria of the review process. Although the prevailing sentiment was that poor ethical climate and moral distress caused staff turnover, definitive answers to the review question remain elusive because there are limited data that confidently support this statement.
Determinants of moral distress in medical and surgical nurses at an adult acute tertiary care hospital.
Department of Nursing, Mayo Clinic Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, AZ 85054, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
AIM To determine the prevalence and contributing factors of moral distress in medical and surgical nurses. BACKGROUND Moral distress from ethical conflicts in the work environment is associated with burnout and job turnovers in nurses. METHOD A prospective cross-sectional survey using the Moral Distress Scale tool was administered to medical and surgical nurses at an adult acute tertiary care hospital. RESULTS The survey was completed by 260 nurses (92% response rate). The intensity of moral distress was uniformly high to situations related to physician practice, nursing practice, institutional factors, futile care, deception and euthanasia. Encounter frequencies for situations associated with futile care and deceptions were particularly high. Encounter frequencies increased with years of nursing experience and caring for oncology and transplant patients. CONCLUSION Moral distress is common among nurses in acute medical and surgical units and can be elicited from different types of situations encountered in the work environment. Nursing experience exacerbated the intensity and frequency of moral distress. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGEMENT Strategies aimed to minimize exposure to situations of moral distress and augment mechanisms mitigating its effect on nurses are necessary to enhance job satisfaction and retention.