Investigating moral distress over a shortage of organs for transplantation

João Paulo Victorino, Donna M Wilson


We verified moral distress related to organ shortage for transplantation in nursing students. This quantitative pilot study analyzed data from 104 nursing undergraduate students. Data were collected through a survey composed of four questions and two sociodemographic items. The chi-squared test was used to examine categorical variables, whereas continuous variable data were analyzed using ANOVA and the Pearson Product Moment correlational test for determining the existence of moral distress regarding the availability of one heart for four individuals susceptible to heart transplantation. A high level of moral distress was identified with regard to the hypothetical decision-making process, which justifies the need for further studies on the subject. Given the hypothetical scenario, moral distress was observed among the students, reaching severe distress in some cases.


Transplantation. Tissue and organ procurement. Nurses. Decision making. Ethics.

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