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Moral Distress Part 1

Activity Details
  • Credit Amounts:
    • CME: 0.75
    • Other: 0.75
  • Cost: Free
  • Release: Sep 20, 2023
  • Expires: Sep 19, 2026
  • Estimated Time to Complete:
    45 Minutes
  • Average User Rating:
    (4 Ratings)


Maria C.  Clay Maria C. Clay, PhD
Chair and Professor, Bioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies
Brody School of Medicine
Adjunct Professor, Public Health
Director, Clinical Skills Assessment and Education
College of Education
East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina

Annette G.  Greer Annette G. Greer, PhD, MSN, RN
Associate Professor, Bioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies
East Carolina University School of Medicine
Greenville, North Carolina

M Sara Rosenthal M Sara Rosenthal, PhD, HEC-C
Professor and Founding Director, Program for Bioethics, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Behavioral Science
University of Kentucky College of Medicine
Chair, UK HealthCare Ethics Committee
Lexington, Kentucky

Needs Statement

Moral Distress is an "occupational hazard" for healthcare providers. It describes a situation in which the healthcare provider knows what the ethical/moral course of action is, but is constrained from acting on it. There may be legal, institutional, or social constraints, including patient/surrogate decisions. Moral distress is an integrity-compromising situation, and if unresolved, leads to moral residue, which can cause healthcare providers to have both physical and emotional symptoms. It is a leading cause of retention problems and workplace bullying in certain healthcare professions. This novel educational module and site  will review the definitions, causes, and consequences of moral distress, as well as offer some solutions.

Proper definitions of moral distress can improve inter-professional discussions about this phenomenon. Learn "what is moral distress", who is affected, and common situations that create it.

This activity has the same content as MORAL DISTRESS PART 1 which expired on June 30, 2017, and June 11, 2023. If you participated and claimed credit for these sessions, you should not claim credit for this module. 

Target Audience

Physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and Social Workers


Upon completion of this educational activity, the participant will be able to:

1. Define moral distress and moral residue;
2. Recognize moral distress and moral residue;
3. Identify warning signs of moral distress;
4. Practice preventative ethics to reduce or avoid moral distress.


In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by UK HealthCare CECentral and East Carolina University. University of Kentucky HealthCare CECentral is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

This enduring material is designated for a maximum of 0.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

IPE Competencies

  • Values/Ethics for Interprofessional Practice

UK Healthcare CECentral certifies this activity for 0.75 hours of participation.

Faculty Disclosure

All planners, faculty, and others in control of educational content are required to disclose all their financial relationships with ineligible companies within the prior 24 months.  An ineligible company is defined as one whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. Financial relationships are relevant if the educational content an individual can control is related to the business lines or products of the ineligible company.

None of the planners, faculty, and others in control of educational content for this educational activity have a relevant financial relationship(s) to disclose with ineligible companies.

The material presented in this course represents information obtained from the scientific literature as well as the clinical experiences of the speakers. In some cases, the presentations might include a discussion of investigational agents and/or off-label indications for various agents used in clinical practice. Speakers will inform the audience when they are discussing investigational and/or off-label uses.

Content review confirmed that the content was developed in a fair, balanced manner free from commercial bias. Disclosure of a relationship is not intended to suggest or condone commercial bias in any presentation, but it is made to provide participants with information that might be of potential importance to their evaluation of a presentation


This activity is jointly provided by the University of Kentucky and East Carolina University.

In collaboration with UK Program for Bioethics.

Activity Faculty

Sara Rosenthal, Project Leader
Maria Clay, Associate Project Faculty
Annette Greer, Nursing Faculty

Review Date