Professional autonomy, collaboration with physicians, and moral distress among European intensive care nurses

Papathanassoglou, E., Karanikola, M., Kalafati, M., Giannakopoulou, M., Lemonidou, C. and Albarran, J. (2012) Professional autonomy, collaboration with physicians, and moral distress among European intensive care nurses. American Association of Critical Care , 21 (2). pp. 41-52. ISSN 1062-3264 Available from:

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Background Discretionary autonomy is a key factor in enhanced patient outcomes and nurses’ work satisfaction. Among nurses,insufficient autonomy can result in moral distress. Objectives To explore levels of autonomy among European critical care nurses and potential associations of autonomy with nurse-physician collaboration, moral distress, and nurses’characteristics. By Elizabeth D.E. Papathanassoglou, RN, MSc, PhD, Maria N. K. Karanikola, RN, MSc, PhD, Maria Kalafati, RN, MSc, PhD, Margarita Giannakopoulou, RN, PhD, Chrysoula Lemonidou, RN, MSc, PhD, and John W. Albarran, RN, MSc, DPhil Methods Descriptive correlational study of a convenience sample of 255 delegates attending a major European critical care conference in 2009. Respondents completed a selfadministered questionnaire with validated scales for nurses’autonomy, nurse-physician collaboration, and moral distress. Results The mean autonomy score (84.26; SD, 11.7; range, 18-108) and the mean composite (frequency and intensity) moral distress score (73.67; SD, 39.19; range, 0-336) were both moderate. The mean collaboration score was 47.85 (SD, 11.63; range, 7-70). Italian and Greek nurses reported significantly lower nurse-physician collaboration than did other nurses (P < .001). Greek and German nurses reported significantly higher moral distress (P < .001). Autonomy scores were associated with nurse-physician collaboration scores (P < .001) and with a higher frequency of moral distress (P = .04). Associations were noted between autonomy and work satisfaction (P = .001). Frequency of moral distress was associated inversely with collaboration (r = -0.339; P < .001) and autonomy (r = -0.210; P = .01) and positively with intention to quit (r = 0.257; P = .004). Conclusions In this sample of European intensive care nurses, lower autonomy was associated with increased frequency and intensity of moral distress and lower levels of nurse-physician collaboration. (American Journal of Critical Care. 2012;21(2):e41-e52)

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:professional autonomy, collaboration, physicians, moral distress, European, intensive care nurses
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences > Department of Nursing and Midwifery
ID Code:16571
Deposited By: C. Foyle
Deposited On:14 Mar 2012 12:26
Last Modified:15 Nov 2016 20:59

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