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Healthcare professionals during the pandemic in the Greek public healthcare system have experienced increased psychological distress, fear and a greater intention to quit their jobs. This study analyzes the factors of moral distress and moral resilience of healthcare professionals employed during the second wave of the pandemic. The target group was the healthcare professionals (HP = 169) who served in the Evaggelismos General Hospital Covid-clinics and -ICU for 2022 and data were collected through life protocols.
Healthcare professionals believe that when faced with moral challenges, they are able to discern them and think clearly. They are especially stressed when they care for more patients than they can safely handle when they are involved in care that causes unnecessary suffering or does not adequately relieve pain or symptoms, and when they notice that patient care is getting worse. Also stressful are the situations, leading to the creation of possible moral distress, when they witness a violation of a standard of practice or moral code. Factors that lead or may lead healthcare professionals to moral distress are nursing safety, unnecessary and deteriorating patient care, and violation of medical confidentiality, violation of standards of practice or moral codes.
The score on the MMD-HP scale indicates low-to-moderate levels of moral distress. Based on the RMRS scale the moral resilience of healthcare professionals is characterized by moderate-to-high with the highest scores per statement seen when patient care is getting worse and feel pressured to ignore situations where patients have not been given adequate information. The healthcare professionals report that they have either left or have considered leaving their position in a clinic due to moral distress, although they are not currently thinking of leaving their position. The factors that increase the frequency of moral distress and decrease their moral resilience are feeling powerless anxiety, nursing/treatment errors, aggressive treatment, caring for more patients than they can handle, substandard patient care, and hierarchical teams.
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