THE NIB FORUM is a place to share current calls for stories and to discuss intriguing stories, narrative symposia, and articles. Occasionally, we publish commentaries from guest writers. The Forum also publishes stories that complement narrative symposia.

Comments are welcome. Approved comments will ordinarily be posted within 1 business day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Calling All Clinicians! New call for stories: The Many Faces of Moral Distress Among Clinicians

Narrative Symposium: The Many Faces of Moral Distress Among Clinicians


Edited by Cynda Hylton Rushton, PhD, RN, F.A.A.N. and Renee Boss, MD, MHS

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics will publish an issue devoted to personal stories from clinicians regarding situations that cause moral distress and how they have responded to them. Moral distress arises when professionals find that they are unable to act in accordance with their moral convictions. The focus of this inquiry is on the personal and professional short- and long-term impact of moral distress and the ways that clinicians respond to and make meaning from that distress. Appropriate contributors might include nurses, physicians, social workers, nursing assistants, clinical ethicists, occupational and physical therapists, and professionals in training. We want true, personal stories in a form that is easy to read.

In writing your story, you might want to think about:

  • Which specific clinical situations give rise to moral distress? Why?
  • How do you experience moral distress--physically, psychologically, socially, or spiritually?
  • How do you deal with moral distress? In past distressing situations...
  • Did you take actions that allowed you to uphold your deepest values?  
  • What conditions within yourself the people involved, and the external environment allowed you to do this?
  • How did you make sense of the situation?
  • What  have been the short or long term consequences?
  • Have you ever been professionally disciplined for acting upon your moral conviction?
  • How has moral distress affected your job performance or your commitment to your job? 
  • What has been left undone or been the residual impact?
  • How would you change the system (e.g., policies, hierarchies, process) to alleviate moral distress within your position? Do you think it can be alleviated, or is it inevitable?

You do not need to address all of these questions—write on the issues that you think are most important to share with others. You do not need to be a writer, just tell your story in your own words. We plan to publish 12 stories (800 – 2000 words) on this topic. Additional stories may be published as online-only supplemental material. We also publish two to four commentary articles that discuss the stories in the journal.

If you are interested in submitting a story, we ask you first to submit a 300-word proposal—a short description of the story you want to tell. Please include a statement about what type of clinician you are and what kind of environment you work in (no institutional names are needed). Inquiries or proposals should be sent to the editorial office via email: We will give preference to story proposals received by Oct 31st. For more information about the journal Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, the guidelines for authors, and privacy policies, visit our webpage with Johns Hopkins University Press at:

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