Healthcare professionals have been enduring these symptoms and feelings this uneasiness for a long time, but, until recently, it did not have much recognition. Until recently, healthcare professionals had been feeling the symptoms of an unnamed uneasiness. We are now able to put words on this particular ailment: moral distress. For the 2016 OHS Week, we, the members of the FIQ OHS Committee, propose that we explore this theme in order to allow us to better recognize this issue, which affects a great number of healthcare professionals.
Healthcare professionals are likely to find themselves in delicate situations. They want to take care of their patients and their loved ones to the best of their knowledge, expertise and judgment. Unfortunately, for reasons that are often out of their control, this proves difficult, especially when it comes to putting it into practice! They are plagued with perpetual organizational changes, budget cuts, lack of supplies, work overload, lack of personnel, mandatory overtime, and many more. Nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists are faced with many constraints which go against their professional and personal values and expose them to situations that are morally ambiguous, in which the quality of care is often affected. “Moral distress occurs when one knows the right action to take or the right thing to do, but obstacles and organizational constraints prevent them from taking that action.”
To know more about this insidious, hard to define issue, we urge you to consult the pamphlet Code MD, sounding the alarm – Moral distress, acknowledging the danger, which defines moral distress, explains how to recognize it, lists the possible consequences, and proposes means by which we can act upon the elements and situations that can cause it. As is the case for other dangers in the healthcare sector, certain emergencies require that we mobilize and centre ourselves on a code… Code MD, sounding the alarm!
Do you know ?
The 2016 OHS Week will take place from October 16 to 22. Stay informed of all activities that will be taking place in your institution either during this week or over the course of the preceding weeks.
Many of the gains obtained by the FIQ during the last provincial negotiations for our collective agreement for the purpose of improving our working conditions can contribute to reducing moral distress. Consult the pamphlet produced for the 2016 OHS Week to know which ones!
One of the pertinent strategies that are at healthcare professionals’ disposal to reduce the risk of suffering from moral distress is the denunciation of situations in which the conditions of practice impede upon their ability to offer quality, safe and humane care. This is what we call a culture of advocacy, a subject which the FIQ holds dear. In fact, on its website, the FIQ has made a Safe Staffing Form available to all its members, accessible at all times.