Moral Courage and Distress

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Nurses practicing in today’s healthcare environment face increasingly complex ethical dilemmas. We encounter these dilemmas in situations where our ability to do the right thing is frequently hindered by conflicting values and beliefs of other healthcare providers. Some confront the ethical issues directly while others turn away. Upholding our commitment to patients requires significant moral courage. Moral courage helps us address ethical issues and take action when doing the right thing is not easy. Moral courage involves the willingness to speak out and do what is right in the face of forces that would lead us to act in some other way. Nurses who possess moral courage and advocate in the best interest of the patient may at times find themselves experiencing adverse outcomes. There is a need for all nurses in all roles across all settings to commit to working toward creating work environments that support moral courage.
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