Actionable Term

March 22, 2020

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Anchor lead: Can ‘moral injury’ be treated? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Moral injury is a more severe form of moral distress, experienced by those who feel they are acting contrary to their values, and it’s being embraced by health care professionals. Cynda Rushton, a bioethics expert at Johns Hopkins, says the term has been around for some time.

Rushton: The term actually started in the military. It was applied to soldiers who had to carry out missions that at the fundamental level really violated their personal values and yet because of their role in the military they had to carry out an action that they wouldn’t have otherwise chosen. It’s a term that really started there and was often associated with PTSD and some of the psychological scars of war. Now there have been people who’ve picked up the term in healthcare.  :32

Rushton says recognition of the problem and its severity will help point the way toward ways to address it. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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