Moral distress and perception of futile care in intensive care nurses
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© 2015 Fariba Borhani et al.; licensee Tehran Univ. Med. Sci Special characteristics of care environments have always presented nurses with some challenges. One particular situation is futile care, which is frequently accompanied by countless moral and legal challenges. The dominant atmosphere in futile care may cause moral distress to nurses and lead to a sense of guilt, pain, suffering, job dissatisfaction, and eventually cause nurses to leave the job. This descriptive-analytical study attempted to investigate the relationship between futile care and moral distress in intensive care nurses. Study subjects were 300 nurses in intensive care units in Kerman, Iran and were selected by convenience sampling based on inclusion criteria. Study tools included Corley’s 21-item questionnaire on moral distress and a researcher-made 17-item questionnaire on futile care. Data analysis was performed using SPSS version 16 and suitable analytical and descriptive tests. The results showed a significantly positive relationship between moral distress and futile care (P = 0.03, r = 0.4). Based on the obtained results, futile care can create conditions that may lead to moral distress in nurses and therefore strategies should be devised to prevent these conditions. Moreover, distress in nurses should be identified by periodical counseling so that it can be managed more efficiently.