Moral distress and the Australian aged care worker

Eley, Robert, Burston, A., Tuckett, A. and Parker, D. (2014). Moral distress and the Australian aged care worker. In: American Psychological Association 122nd Annual Convention (APA 2014), Washington, United States, (). 6-10 August 2014.

Author Eley, Robert
Burston, A.
Tuckett, A.
Parker, D.
Title of paper Moral distress and the Australian aged care worker
Conference name American Psychological Association 122nd Annual Convention (APA 2014)
Conference location Washington, United States
Conference dates 6-10 August 2014
Publication Year 2014
Sub-type Poster
Open Access Status
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
An increasing demand for services and an ageing workforce are critical concerns for the Australian aged care sector. An ageing population is increasing demand on services; with issues of workload, stress, and emotional demands of specific concern. Psychological effects of moral distress include demoralisation, anger and frustration, with some noted as becoming callous and bitter. Further consequences include nurses suffering burnout and/or leaving the profession due to this distress. Whilst moral distress has been investigated across a range of clinical contexts and countries, little research exploring moral distress in the Australian or the aged care contexts is evident. Addressing this issue can improve the quality of working life for the aged care workforce, reducing adverse physical and psychological effects. The aim of this project was to adapt and pilot test an instrument to measure moral distress for this population.

A sample of aged care nurses from south-east Queensland Australia participated in the study.

Four key instruments to measure the experience of moral distress were identified in the literature. After careful review and discussion Hamric & Blackhall’s Moral Distress Scale -Revised was selected for use. Permission to use the instrument was obtained. A range of amendments to the instrument were discussed, with input from industry experts also obtained; with a view to ensuring face and content validity. This resulted in a revised instrument, the Moral Distress Scale - Revised [Aged Care]. The instrument was distributed to participants via an electronic platform.

Preliminary results indicate that 97% of aged care workers have experienced moral distress during their career, 47% have considered quitting or leaving a position,1 in 6 have left a position,1 in 5 have taken a break from work, and 73% have never received education or professional development related to moral distress.

In conclusion, moral distress is a relevant issue for Australian aged care nurses, for which the Moral Distress Scale – Revised [aged care] is proving to be a valid instrument of measure.
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown
Additional Notes Poster Session: Current Topics in Consulting and Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Poster number D-2.

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
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Created: Wed, 23 Apr 2014, 09:18:24 EST by Vicki Percival on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work