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.
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