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Keywords:

  • Clinical decision-making;
  • moral distress;
  • psychiatric nursing

PURPOSE.  The purpose of this study was to investigate moral distress in Irish psychiatric nurses.

DESIGN.  A qualitative descriptive methodology was used.

FINDINGS.  The study confirmed the presence of moral distress and the situations that gave rise to moral distress within psychiatric nurses working in acute care settings.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS.  The findings indicate that while multidisciplinary teams appear to function well on the surface, situations that give rise to moral distress are not always acknowledged or dealt with effectively. Furthermore, unresolved moral conflict impacts upon the quality of clinical decision-making by not allowing open and transparent discussions that allow clinicians the opportunity to address their concerns adequately.