Defining and addressing moral distress: Tools for critical care nursing leaders

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Nurse clinicians may experience moral distress when they are unable to translate their moral choices into moral action. The costs of unrelieved moral distress are high; ultimately, as with all unresolved professional conflicts, the quality of patient care suffers. As a systematic process for change, this article offers the AACN's Model to Rise Above Moral Distress, describing four A's: ask, affirm, assess, and act. To help critical care nurses working to address moral distress, the article identifies 11 action steps they can take to develop an ethical practice environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-168
Number of pages8
JournalAACN advanced critical care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006


  • Change process models
  • Critical care nursing
  • Moral distress
  • Nursing leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care


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