After nearly 30 years of research into moral distress there are no clear-cut answers for how to reduce its detrimental impact. In August, 46 nurse leaders convened at Johns Hopkins to address these challenges

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Nurses convened at Johns Hopkins for a two-day symposium organized and led by Cynda Rushton and the American Journal of Nursing

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A Call at Nurses Week

May 12, 2016

Johns Hopkins School of Nursing Dean Patricia Davidson writes, “In Florence Nightingale’s day, quality, hygienic, patient-centered nursing was in short supply. Patient safety and quality of care have come a long way since then. But the shortage of nurses remains an alarming issue, one that will run through our celebration of National Nurses Week, which ends appropriately on Nightingale’s birthday, May 12”

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Linda Aiken says she’s worried that hospitals think of nurses as a cost to be cut and not as a revenue stream. Cynda Rushton, a professor of nursing and bioethics at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and School of Nursing, agrees. “There is a mindset among some administrators that nurses are easily replaceable commodities — a nurse is a nurse is a nurse,” she says

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The Ethics of Moral Outrage

January 7, 2016

As Cynda Rushton has stated, we “should distinguish between moral outrage that is grounded in principled discernment and action from an impulsive, unreflected emotional reaction that lacks sufficient grounding in ethical values or standards.” Such an approach would go a long way toward recognizing true moral outrage and be more discerning and disciplined about our responses to it

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“The kinds of quandaries nurses face are broad and far reaching,” said Cynda Rushton, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Anne and George L. Bunting professor of Clinical Ethics at Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics in Baltimore. “Because of their proximity to patients, they see in an intimate way the consequences of the therapies and often the suffering of their patients.”

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Authors asked physician trainees in internal medicine how they reacted and responded to ethical challenges arising in the context of perceived futile treatments at the end of life and how these challenges contribute to moral distress

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Ethicists can step in. It’s not uncommon for nursing staff to report moral distress after administering palliative sedation to a patient who dies shortly afterward. With comments from our Cynda Rushton

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