Moral Injury in Critical Care

4m of CPD
Moral injury can be defined as profound psychological distress that results from actions, or the lack of them, which violate a person’s moral or ethical code. In healthcare, it may occur when the practitioner knows the ethically correct action to take but feels powerless to take that action.

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Moral injury can be defined as the profound psychological distress that results from actions, or the lack of them, which violate a person’s moral or ethical code. For healthcare teams working in overstretched critical care environments, potentially morally injurious events (PMIEs) can lead to negative thoughts as well as deep feelings of shame or guilt which can, in turn, lead to more serious mental health problems.

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Meet the educator

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Anne Watkins
Anne is a freelance lecturer and medical writer at Mind Body Ink. She is a former midwife and nurse teacher with over 25 years’ experience working in the fields of healthcare, stress management and medical hypnosis. Her background includes working as a hospital midwife, Critical Care nurse, lecturer in Neonatal Intensive Care, and as a Clinical Nurse Specialist for a company making life support equipment. Anne has also studied many forms of complementary medicine and has extensive experience in the field of clinical hypnosis. She has a special interest in integrating complementary medicine into conventional healthcare settings and is currently an Associate Tutor, lecturing in Health Coaching and Medical Hypnosis at Exeter University in the UK. As a former Midwife, Anne has a natural passion for writing about fertility, pregnancy, birthing and baby care. Her recent publications include The Health Factor, Coach Yourself To Better Health and Positive Thinking For Kids. You can read more about her work at
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What do others think?

675 reviews by Ausmed Learners
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Cheryl Nieuwenhuizen
08 May 2020
Very relevant
Helen Tuxworth
22 May 2020
very good short but excellent references
Nikoletta Varga
17 May 2020
Newly identified issue amongst healthcare professionals brought on by the pandemic.
Maria woods
17 May 2020
This is not relevant in my work as an RN, but as I had never heard the term I was most interested
Christine Wright
29 Jun 2020
Succinct and informative.
James Fox
18 May 2020
Good general knowledge
Amanda McVeigh
14 Jan 2022
This resource was very informative
Tania Taylor
08 May 2020
Even though it was very short, this course outlined beautifully, the inner turmoil that health professionals can deal with on a daily basis. It showed that we are not alone.
Camille House
13 May 2020
Moral injury occurs not only in a critical care or intensive care setting but also other areas of nursing. COVID19 is adding stress to nurses and increasing risk of moral injury. Balancing the physical and mental needs of patients can lead to moral injury.
Rebecca McKim
08 Oct 2020
Good insight into an emerging understanding and recognition of the moral and ethical dilemma's that we sometimes face not only in critical care but also in health care in general as well as in our own lives.
4.5 / 5
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