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Article

Moral Distress among Frontline Physicians and Nurses in the Early Phase of COVID-19 Pandemic in Italy

1
Psychology Unit of Montescano Institute, Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri, IRCCS, 27040 Montescano, Italy
2
Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine of Genova Nervi Institute, Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri, 16167 Genova, Italy
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Department of Brain and Behavioural Sciences, Unit of Applied Psychology, University of Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy
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Department of Neurorehabilitation of Pavia Institute, Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri, IRCCS, 27100 Pavia, Italy
5
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Medicine and Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(15), 9682; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159682
Received: 8 June 2022 / Revised: 1 August 2022 / Accepted: 3 August 2022 / Published: 5 August 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Moral Distress and Mental Health among Healthcare Professionals)
During the COVID-19 health emergency, healthcare professionals faced several ethical demanding job stressors, becoming at particular risk of moral distress. To date, only a few scales have been developed to evaluate moral distress among frontline professionals working in contact with COVID-19 patients. Moreover, although many healthcare professionals from various disciplines were converted to COVID-19 patient care, no study has yet analyzed whether the resulting change in duties might represent a risk factor for moral distress. Thus, this study aimed to investigate how and when the change in duties during the emergency would be related to healthcare professionals’ psycho-physical malaise. To this aim, a first Italian adaptation of the Stress of Conscience Questionnaire (SCQ) was provided. In total, 272 Italian healthcare professionals participated in this cross-sectional study. Healthcare professionals who had to perform tasks outside their usual clinical duties were more likely to experience moral distress and then psycho-physical malaise. This was particularly likely for those who were extremely concerned about becoming infected with the virus. The results also indicated that the Italian adaptation of the SCQ had a one-factor solution composed of six items. This study provides the first Italian adaptation of SCQ and practical suggestions on how supporting professionals’ well-being during emergencies. View Full-Text
Keywords: moral distress; COVID-19; change in duties; fear of being infected; stress of conscience; healthcare; psychophysical malaise moral distress; COVID-19; change in duties; fear of being infected; stress of conscience; healthcare; psychophysical malaise
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MDPI and ACS Style

Maffoni, M.; Fiabane, E.; Setti, I.; Martelli, S.; Pistarini, C.; Sommovigo, V. Moral Distress among Frontline Physicians and Nurses in the Early Phase of COVID-19 Pandemic in Italy. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 9682. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159682

AMA Style

Maffoni M, Fiabane E, Setti I, Martelli S, Pistarini C, Sommovigo V. Moral Distress among Frontline Physicians and Nurses in the Early Phase of COVID-19 Pandemic in Italy. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(15):9682. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159682

Chicago/Turabian Style

Maffoni, Marina, Elena Fiabane, Ilaria Setti, Sara Martelli, Caterina Pistarini, and Valentina Sommovigo. 2022. "Moral Distress among Frontline Physicians and Nurses in the Early Phase of COVID-19 Pandemic in Italy" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 15: 9682. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159682

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