Moral distress in everyday nursing: hidden traces of power and resistance

Barlem, Edison Luiz Devos; Lunardi, Valéria Lerch; Lunardi, Guilherme Lerch; Tomaschewski-Barlem, Jamila Geri; Silveira, Rosemary Silva da


To know the strategies of resistance adopted by nursing staff, facing situations of moral distress, from an ethical perspective. Method: The authors conducted qualitative research through semi-structured interviews, with fifteen nursing staff members of a university hospital in the extreme south of Brazil, using textual discourse analysis and the theoretical reference of Foucault. Results: Two categories were constructed: denial of oneself and the other - in which one perceives that the nursing staff can perform actions that are governed predominantly by immobility and conformism, avoiding confrontations with whoever represents power in situations that provoke moral distress in them; possibility to care for oneself and for the other - in which nursing workers in situations that provoke moral distress for them exercise power and endurance. Conclusion: it was perceived that some professionals seem to use ethical coping strategies, in order to ensure and preserve their professional values. However, often the choice of some nursing professionals may be to relapse into immobility and the absence of building strategies of endurance. This situation may represent their reduced exercise of power and insufficient resistance in the face of ethical problems, contributing to the intensification of their invisibility in the area of health.

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  • ICEAC - Artigos Publicados em Periódicos