BMC Medical Ethics (Nov 2021)

Being torn by inevitable moral dilemma: experiences of ICU nurses

  • Neda Asadi,
  • Zahra Royani,
  • Mahbubeh Maazallahi,
  • Fatemeh Salmani

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 22, no. 1
pp. 1 – 7


Read online

Abstract Background Ethical decision-making of nurses could affect patients’ recovery and also decrease medical costs. To make ethical decisions, ICU nurses experience complicated ethical conflicts. Considering the multi-dimensional process of ethical decision-making, the present study was conducted to describe the experiences of ICU nurses regarding ethical decision making. Method The present research is a qualitative study with conventional content analysis approach that was done in 2020. Fourteen ICU nurses were interviewed using a semi-structured in-depth interview method. The interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using Granheim and Landman approach. Results Being torn by inevitable moral dilemma was defined as the main category which contained the categories of conflict with professional self, feeling squeezed between self-authority and demands of others, and Surrounded by organizational limitations. Conclusions Results of the present study showed that moral dilemma is a situation in which the nurses are forced to choose between two options based on their equipment and facilities. In these situations, the nurses would hesitate between their internal conflicts and confusion between choosing their own benefits and patients’ benefits. To prevent ethical challenges in decision making, it is necessary to educate healthcare team about ethical dilemmas and empower the personnel for encountering ethical challenges.