2.50
Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10755/581749
Category:
Full-text
Format:
Text-based Document
Type:
Research Study
Level of Evidence:
Qualitative Study, Phenomenology
Research Approach:
Qualitative Research
Title:
Experiencing Moral Uncertainty in Practice
Author(s):
Wurzbach, Mary Ellen
Lead Author STTI Affiliation:
Eta Pi
Author Details:
Mary Ellen Wurzbach, R.N. BSN, MSN, FNP, Ph.D., email: wurzbacm at uwosh dot edu,
Abstract:

Within the past thirty years, ethical questions have come to the forefront of nursing practice.  Books on the subject of nursing ethics attest to the fact that nursing ethics as a subject distinct from medical ethics is seen as important, not only by nurse scholars, but also by practicing nurses and philosophers of biomedical ethics. Little has been written about the moral uncertainty experienced by nurses while making ethical decisions.  In order to address this absence of research, the author has studied moral certainty and moral uncertainty related to the issue of withholding or withdrawing artificial nutrition and hydration from elders in the end stages of life in long-term care and acute care nurses' experiences of moral certainty (Wurzbach, 1993; 1995; 1996).

The author found that there was a difference in reactions to the moral uncertainty of an ethical event.  If there was time, nurses experienced "standing back" or "going through" moral uncertainty.  If there was not time to consider options the phenomenon of “just keep going" occurred.  The nurses who experienced "just keep going" were the most likely to "look back", wondering whether what they had done was “right”, sometimes ruminating for years.

This study examined the experience of moral uncertainty in practice and its effect on the nurses who experience it. Humility is coming to an understanding of the complexity of ethical understanding.  This means acknowledging that moral beliefs may exist that are equally fundamental and yet contradictory within a given situation. It also means recognizing and acknowledging moral uncertainty.  Instead of pursuing a search for moral certainty, living with the ambiguities of the ethical life is not only suggested, but recommended. Although even statements of fact may be tentative, one can have sufficient knowledge to take moral action, subject to revision of one's point of view, with the accumulation of more evidence.

Keywords:
ethics, nursing; ethical decision making; ethics; acute care; moral distress; moral reasoning; Philosophical perspectives; philosophy, nursing
MeSH:
Ethics; Morals; Philosophy, Nursing
CINAHL Headings:
Acute Care
Repository Posting Date:
4-Nov-2015
Date of Publication:
4-Nov-2015
Citation:
Wurzbach, M. E. (2015). Experiencing moral uncertainty in practice. Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository. Retrieved from: http://www.nursinglibrary.org/vhl/handle/10755/581749
Note:
This work has been approved through a peer-review process prior to its posting in the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.type.categoryFull-texten
dc.formatText-based Documenten
dc.typeResearch Studyen
dc.evidence.levelQualitative Study, Phenomenologyen
dc.research.approachQualitative Researchen
dc.titleExperiencing Moral Uncertainty in Practiceen_US
dc.contributor.authorWurzbach, Mary Ellenen
dc.contributor.departmentEta Pien
dc.author.detailsMary Ellen Wurzbach, R.N. BSN, MSN, FNP, Ph.D., email: wurzbacm at uwosh dot edu,en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10755/581749en
dc.description.abstract<p>Within the past thirty years, ethical questions have come to the forefront of nursing practice.  Books on the subject of nursing ethics attest to the fact that nursing ethics as a subject distinct from medical ethics is seen as important, not only by nurse scholars, but also by practicing nurses and philosophers of biomedical ethics. Little has been written about the moral uncertainty experienced by nurses while making ethical decisions.  In order to address this absence of research, the author has studied moral certainty and moral uncertainty related to the issue of withholding or withdrawing artificial nutrition and hydration from elders in the end stages of life in long-term care and acute care nurses' experiences of moral certainty (Wurzbach, 1993; 1995; 1996).</p> <p>The author found that there was a difference in reactions to the moral uncertainty of an ethical event.  If there was time, nurses experienced "standing back" or "going through" moral uncertainty.  If there was not time to consider options the phenomenon of “just keep going" occurred.  The nurses who experienced "just keep going" were the most likely to "look back", wondering whether what they had done was “right”, sometimes ruminating for years.</p> <p>This study examined the experience of moral uncertainty in practice and its effect on the nurses who experience it. Humility is coming to an understanding of the complexity of ethical understanding.  This means acknowledging that moral beliefs may exist that are equally fundamental and yet contradictory within a given situation. It also means recognizing and acknowledging moral uncertainty.  Instead of pursuing a search for moral certainty, living with the ambiguities of the ethical life is not only suggested, but recommended. Although even statements of fact may be tentative, one can have sufficient knowledge to take moral action, subject to revision of one's point of view, with the accumulation of more evidence.</p>en
dc.subjectethics, nursingen
dc.subjectethical decision makingen
dc.subjectethicsen
dc.subjectacute careen
dc.subjectmoral distressen
dc.subjectmoral reasoningen
dc.subjectPhilosophical perspectivesen
dc.subjectphilosophy, nursingen
dc.subject.meshEthicsen
dc.subject.meshMoralsen
dc.subject.meshPhilosophy, Nursingen
dc.subject.cinahlAcute Careen
dc.date.available2015-11-04T17:43:55Zen
dc.date.issued2015-11-04en
dc.date.accessioned2015-11-04T17:43:55Zen
dc.identifier.citationWurzbach, M. E. (2015). Experiencing moral uncertainty in practice. Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository. Retrieved from: http://www.nursinglibrary.org/vhl/handle/10755/581749en
dc.identifier.citationWurzbach, M. E. (2015). Experiencing moral uncertainty in practice. Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository. Retrieved from: http://www.nursinglibrary.org/vhl/handle/10755/581749en
dc.description.noteThis work has been approved through a peer-review process prior to its posting in the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository.en
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