Professional Poster

Can We Talk: Authentic Conversations About Moral Distress and Moral Injury

Thursday, August 6, 2020, 10:00 am - 10:00 am EDT

We started our journey to learn about moral distress and moral injury in early 2019. Our impetus at the time was to understand the

experience of community health teams who felt they were not doing all they could for their patients. We had no idea that this work

would take us from our emphasis on providing strategies for care teams working with vulnerable populations to supporting healthcare

providers on the frontlines of a global pandemic. Moral distress and moral injury are the emotions and physical symptoms that accompany not being able “to do what you know is right.” They are challenges to our ethical and professional integrity. They are evident in media reports and commentaries about front-line health care teams during COVID-19. In our work, we have learned that moral distress and moral injury are difficult to talk about and in many instances, front-line providers do not recognize they are experiencing them and have no context for starting conversations about them. With this poster, we will 1.) define moral distress and moral injury and provide specific cues to recognizing them and 2.) provide practical strategies for starting conversations about them among team members. Years of research, especially from studies of combat veterans, indicates that the impacts of moral distress and moral injury may be extremely painful and debilitating. There is no question that health care teams are experiencing them during

COVID-19. Providing brief and useful strategies to start conversations is essential to support our healthcare workforce. Josiah Macy

Jr. Foundation National Association of Community Health Centers