SHORT REPORT
Moral distress among midwives working in the labour ward of a hospital in Ghana
 
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1
Department of Sociology and Social Work, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
2
Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Bright Addo   

Department of Sociology and Social Work, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Publication date: 2020-06-01
Submission date: 2020-01-26
Final revision date: 2020-02-07
Acceptance date: 2020-04-06
 
Eur J Midwifery 2020;4(June):24
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Introduction:
The existing literature on moral distress is replete with studies conducted among nurses. That on midwives is however lacking. The aim of this study was to explore and understand moral distress from the perspective of and as experienced by midwives.

Methods:
This study involved an exploratory and qualitative case study design and adopted the interpretative phenomenological approach to collect data from 8 Ghanaian female midwives working in the labour ward of a public Hospital in Sunyani, Ghana, using individual in-depth interviews. The data obtained through audio-taped recordings were transcribed verbatim and analysed, adopting Colaizzi’s qualitative analysis procedure.

Results:
Three major themes were generated: perceived knowledge about moral distress, perceived causes of moral distress, and perceived effects of moral distress. The midwives perceived moral distress as stress arising from situations where they knew the right thing to be done or how to save a life but due to reasons such as resource constraints and disrespect from their colleagues and superiors, they were unable to do so. Moral distress often impacted negatively on midwives work performance and psycho-emotional wellbeing. Effects that manifested in the form of problems such as stomach sickness, sleepless nights, frustration, and anger, were mentioned.

Conclusions:
Efforts aimed at providing adequate logistics and resources, as well as improving communication, healthy interactions and interpersonal relationships among midwives and their colleagues should be intensified.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
The authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none was reported.
FUNDING
There was no source of funding for this research.
AUTHORS' CONTRIBUTIONS
The authors together conceived the design of the study. HA, SE and HO collected the data and transcribed the audio-taped recordings. BA analysed the data, did the literature review and drafted the manuscript. All the authors read and approved the final draft for submission.
PROVENANCE AND PEER REVIEW
Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
 
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