Survey for health care employees: Moral Distress in the Midst of a Pandemic

The world is currently in the midst of a deadly viral pandemic. A pandemic "can place extraordinary and sustained demands on public health and health systems and on providers of essential community services." Moral distress occurs when a health care professional recognizes a moral/ethical problem, feels the responsibility to do something about it but cannot act or speak up in a way that is consistent with their own professional integrity, due to various internal and external constraints.

This study aims to elicit the moral/ethical dilemmas facing health care professionals at this juncture in the evolution of the pandemic and to also elicit any characteristic features of moral resiliency that help sustain integrity during these challenging circumstances. This is a voluntary and anonymous Qualtrics survey on a secure website. Follow-up surveys at set intervals will explore multiprofessional perspectives at later stages of the pandemic.

By eliciting health care professionals' perspectives of the moral distress they are experiencing during and after a pandemic, organizations, systems, teams, and individuals can potentially identify mitigating strategies to better support preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. To our knowledge, this is the first study to date that will identify the morally/ethically distressing circumstances that are most relevant to health care professionals experiencing a pandemic through the framework of professional integrity.

Who are the participants in the trial?

Attending physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, residents, fellows, physician assistants/ nurse practitioners, physical therapists/ occupational therapists, pharmacists, social workers, and chaplains who are JHH employees, JHU School of Medicine employees, JHHS employees, employees at Sibley Memorial and Suburban hospitals. Also, employees at the following JHCRN sites: Anne Arundel Medical Center, Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute, Peninsula Regional Medical Center, Reading Hospital Tower Health, members of health care professional associations and organizations indicating interest in participating in this survey (e.g., Maryland Nursing Association).

To take the survey, use this link.

Principal investigator is Adrian S. Dobs, MD MHS
IRB#: IRB00248237