Critical Care Nurses' Moral Resilience, Moral Injury, Institutional Betrayal, and Traumatic Stress After COVID-19.

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BACKGROUND: Traumatic stress and moral injury may contribute to burnout, but their relationship to institutional betrayal and moral resilience is poorly understood, leaving risk and protective factors understudied.

OBJECTIVES: To examine traumatic stress symptoms, moral injury symptoms, moral resilience, and institutional betrayal experienced by critical care nurses and examine how moral injury and traumatic stress symptoms relate to moral resilience, institutional betrayal, and patient-related burnout.

METHODS: This cross-sectional study included 121 critical care nurses and used an online survey. Validated instruments were used to measure key variables. Descriptive statistics, regression analyses, and group t tests were used to examine relationships among variables.

RESULTS: Of participating nurses, 71.5% reported significant moral injury symptoms and/or traumatic stress. Both moral injury symptoms and traumatic stress were associated with burnout. Regression models showed that institutional betrayal was associated with increased likelihood of traumatic stress and moral injury. Increases in scores on Response to Moral Adversity subscale of moral resilience were associated with a lower likelihood of traumatic stress and moral injury symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Moral resilience, especially response to difficult circumstances, may be protective in critical care environments, but system factors (eg, institutional betrayal) must also be addressed systemically rather than relying on individual-level interventions to address nurses' needs.

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American journal of critical care : an official publication, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses





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