Document Type

Final Project

Graduation Date

Spring 5-7-2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

First Advisor

Kelly J. Betts, EdD, RN, APRN, CPNP-BC, CNE

Second Advisor

Trina Aguirre PhD, R.N.


Abstract Moral Distress (MD) is an ongoing reality for emergency department (ED) nurses and often emerges when caring for patients at the end of life. Repeated exposure to MD can result in resignation from the nursing profession. This study measured moral distress using the Measure of Moral Distress for Healthcare Professionals (MMD-HP) survey tool. The goal was to identify stressors known to cause moral distress, measure the frequency of their occurrence during the COVID-19 pandemic, and analyze the correlation to influence ED nurses to leave the position. The MMD-HP ranks the frequency of occurrence of stressful situations leading to moral distress with a 5-point Likert scale (0-Never to 5-Very Frequently) and intent to leave their clinical position in the emergency department (ED) with a "Yes" or "No" response. This study used a Pearson correlation analysis to measure the relationship between the frequency of stressful situations and intent to leave the position. Participants included 17 ED nurses (94% females) aged 22-63 years (mean age = 43) who were actively working or worked in an ED during the COVID-19 pandemic. Strong correlations exist between leaving a clinical position and "Following a family's insistence to continue care perceived to be futile" and "Being required to work with abusive patients and family members who compromised care." Future interventions focused on self-care may help emergency nurses improve their ability to recognize and address moral distress.

Included in

Nursing Commons