Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine 2015. 8(0):.

Moral distress and perception of futile care in intensive care nurses
Fariba Borhani, Somayeh Mohammadi, Mostafa Roshanzadeh


Special characteristics of care environments have always presented nurses with some challenges. One particular situation is

futile care, which is frequently accompanied by countless moral and legal challenges. The dominant atmosphere in futile care

may cause moral distress to nurses and lead to a sense of guilt, pain, suffering, job dissatisfaction, and eventually cause nurses

to leave the job. This descriptive-analytical study attempted to investigate the relationship between futile care and moral distress

in intensive care nurses. Study subjects were 300 nurses in intensive care units in Kerman, Iran and were selected by

convenience sampling based on inclusion criteria. Study tools included Corley’s 21-item questionnaire on moral distress and a

researcher-made 17-item questionnaire on futile care. Data analysis was performed using SPSS version 16 and suitable

analytical and descriptive tests.

The results showed a significantly positive relationship between moral distress and futile care (


= 0.03, r = 0.4). Based on the

obtained results, futile care can create conditions that may lead to moral distress in nurses and therefore strategies should be


devised to prevent these conditions. Moreover, distress in nurses should be identified by periodical counseling so that it can be


managed more efficiently.




moral distress, futile care, intensive care unit, nursing ethics

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License which allows users to read, copy, distribute and make derivative works for non-commercial purposes from the material, as long as the author of the original work is cited properly.