Team Care Connections
Moral Distress / Moral Injury
NACHC have issued their latest Team Care and Connections publication, focusing on concepts of Moral Distress and Moral Injury … how people experience conflict between what they believe in and what they see or do, based on surveys of healthcare professionals.
From the introduction:
“ … We interviewed primary care teams about their experience caring for vulnerable patients. Each team member, regardless of his or her role, used words like “gratifying” and “fulfilling” to describe how it felt to help patients feel better or improve access to needed services.
Many care providers referred to their work as a calling.
However, these conversations often turned to challenges; things that create obstacles to providing the care team members want and felt called to give. We heard about long days and short visits, and lack of community resources they felt their patients needed.
As health care professionals, we knew and had experienced these same challenges. We weren’t surprised by them or comments about how frustrating they can be.
What we didn’t expect – and had no interpretation for – was the degree of pain and stress that lived alongside the satisfaction most felt for their work.
We heard team members question if they were doing enough for their patients, if they were giving the level of care they expected of themselves, and most poignantly, if they were failing their patients. Our exploration of what this might be about led us to moral distress and moral injury, the emotions and stress that accompany discordance between what providers believe “should be” and what is, and how it affects primary care teams.