School of Nursing


Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Sharon Kopis


Resilience, Nurses, Moral Distress, Burnout


Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing


Background: Moral Distress (MD) is an experience of painful feelings and/or psychological imbalance that occurs when a person’s moral integrity is seriously compromised, either because one feels unable to act in accordance with core values and obligations, or attempted actions fail to achieve the desired outcome (Hamric, 2014). The consequences of repeated episodes of moral distress have been linked to nurses reporting symptoms of low job satisfaction, caregiver burnout, compassion fatigue, emotional exhaustion, poor work engagement, and nurses leaving their positions. Problem: There is evidence that makes the connection between an existing high level of resilience and a low level of MD and symptoms of burnout. There are fewer studies that evaluate what effect, if any, efforts may have on building resilience or reducing existing symptoms of moral distress and its correlate of burnout within nurses. Aim: To evaluate the available literature and explore the question of whether the use of resilience-building strategies influences moral distress, burnout, and levels of resilience in nurses. Results: Twenty studies with pre-post intervention measures were critically reviewed. Despite variation between study components and small sizes of individual studies, the general results suggest that traits of resilience may be increased, and traits of moral distress and burnout may be decreased through resilience interventions. This review also provides direction for further efforts to address this issue within healthcare professionals.

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