Moral distress in the neonatal intensive care unit: an Italian study

P. Sannino, M. L. Giannì, L. G. Re, M. Lusignani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective:The objective of this study was to evaluate the frequency, the intensity and the level of moral distress experienced by nurses working in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).Study Design:We conducted a cross-sectional questionnaire survey involving 472 nurses working in 15 level III NICUs. Frequency, intensity and level of moral distress was evaluated using a modified version of Moral Distress Scale Neonatal–Pediatric Version. Socio-demographic data were also collected.Result:Four hundred six nurses completed the study material indicating a low-to-moderate experience of moral distress. The situations receiving the highest scores for frequency, intensity and level of moral distress related to the initiation of extensive life-saving actions and participation to the care of ventilator-dependent child. No difference in the mean scores of moral distress was found according to the socio-demographic characteristics investigated.Conclusion:The present study provides further insight into the moral distress experienced by nurses working in Italian NICUs.Journal of Perinatology advance online publication, 9 October 2014; doi:10.1038/jp.2014.182.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Oct 9 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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