Moral ResilienceTransforming Moral Suffering in Healthcare

Moral ResilienceTransforming Moral Suffering in Healthcare

Cynda Hylton Rushton

Print publication date: Oct 2018

ISBN: 9780190619268

Publisher: Oxford University Press


Suffering is an unavoidable reality in healthcare. Not only are patients and families suffering but also the clinicians who care for them. Commonly the suffering experienced by clinicians is moral in nature, in part a reflection of the increasing complexity of health care, their roles within it, and the expanding range of available interventions that challenge their moral foundations. Moral suffering is the anguish that arises occurs in response to moral adversity that challenges clinicians’ integrity: the inner harmony that arises when their essential values and commitments are aligned with their choices and actions. The sources and sequelae of moral distress, one type of moral suffering, have been documented among clinicians across specialties. Transforming their suffering will require solutions that expanded individual and system strategies. Moral resilience, the capacity of an individual to restore or sustain integrity in response to moral adversity, offers a path forward. It encompasses capacities aimed at developing self- regulation and self-awareness, buoyancy, moral efficacy, self-stewardship and ultimately personal and relational integrity. Whether it involves gradual or profound radical change clinicians have the potential to transform themselves and their clinical practice in ways that more authentically reflect their character, intentions and values. The burden of healing our healthcare system is not the sole responsibility of individuals. Clinicians and healthcare organizations must work together to transform moral suffering by cultivating the individual capacities for moral resilience and designing a new architecture to support ethical practice. Used worldwide for scalable and sustainable change, the Conscious Full Spectrum approach, offers a method to solve problems to support integrity, shift patterns that undermine moral resilience and ethical practice, and leverage the inner potential of clinicians and leaders to produce meaningful and sustainable results that benefit all.