CFS: Moral Distress Stories (Narrative Inquiry Bioethics)

Call for Stories: Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics — Narrative Symposium: The Many Faces of Moral Distress Among Clinicians

Edited by Cynda Hylton Rushton, PhD, RN, F.A.A.N. and Renee Boss, MD, MHS

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics will publish an issue devoted to personal stories from clinicians regarding situations that cause moral distress and how they have responded to them. Moral distress arises when professionals find that they are unable to act in accordance with their moral convictions. The focus of this inquiry is on the personal and professional short- and long-term impact of moral distress and the ways that clinicians respond to and make meaning from that distress. Appropriate contributors might include nurses, physicians, social workers, nursing assistants, clinical ethicists, occupational and physical therapists, and professionals in training. We want true, personal stories in a form that is easy to read.

In writing your story, you might want to think about:

  •  Which specific clinical situations give rise to moral distress? Why?
  •  How do you experience moral distress—physically, psychologically, socially or spiritually?
  •  How do you deal with moral distress? In past distressing situations …
    •  Did you take actions that allowed you to uphold your deepest values?
    •  What conditions within yourself, the people involved, and the external environment allowed you to do this?
    •  How did you made sense of the situation?
  •  What have been the short or long term consequences?
    •  Have you ever been professionally disciplined for acting upon your moral conviction?
    •  How has moral distress affected your job performance or your commitment to your job?
    •  What has been left undone or been the residual impact?
    •  How have your own values evolved as a result of moral distress?
  •  How would you change the system (e.g., policies, hierarchies, processes) to alleviate moral distress within your position? Do you think it can be alleviated, or is it inevitable?

You do not need to address all of these questions—write on the issues that you think are most important to share with others. You do not need to be a writer, just tell your story in your own words. We plan to publish 12 stories (800 – 2000 words) on this topic. Additional stories may be published as online-only supplemental material. We also publish two to four commentary articles that discuss the stories in the journal.

If you are interested in submitting a story, we ask you first to submit a 300-word proposal—a short description of the story you want to tell. Please include a statement about what type of clinician you are and what kind of environment you work in (no institutional names are needed). Inquiries or proposals should be sent to the editorial office via email: narrativebioethics@gmail.com  We will give preference to story proposals received by Oct 31st. For more information about the journal Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, the guidelines for authors, and privacy policies, visit our webpage with Johns Hopkins University Press at: http://www.press.jhu.edu/journals/narrative_inquiry_in_bioethics/guidelines.html

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