Measuring moral distress in pharmacy and clinical practice

  • Sporrong S
  • Höglund A
  • Arnetz B
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This article presents the development; validation and application of an instrument to measure everyday moral distress in different health care settings. The concept of moral distress has been discussed and developed over 20 years. A few instruments have been developed to measure it; predominantly in nursing. The instrument presented here consists of two factors: level of moral distress; and tolerance/openness towards moral dilemmas. It was tested in four medical departments and three pharmacies; where 259 staff members completed a questionnaire. The two factors were found to be reliable. Differences in levels of moral distress were found between pharmacies and clinical departments; and between the youngest and oldest age groups; departmental staff and the youngest group experienced higher levels of moral distress. Departments reported less tolerance/openness towards moral dilemmas than pharmacies. The instrument needs to be tested further; but its strengths are the focus on everyday ethical dilemmas and its usefulness in different health care settings.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Clinical practice
  • Ethics
  • Moral distress
  • Pharmacy practice
  • Scale development

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  • Sofia Kälvemark Sporrong

  • Anna T. Höglund

  • Bengt Arnetz

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