Moral Courage Amid Moral Distress: Strategies for Action
It's hard to believe that even nurse leaders struggle to demonstrate moral courage. In his article addressing moral courage and the nurse leader, Dr. Edmonson (September 30, 2010) took an in-depth look at both the responsibility nurse leaders have to strengthen moral courage in their work settings and the threats to moral courage faced by these leaders. We are told throughout nursing school that nurses are the face of the patient and that patient advocacy is our nursing duty. We are taught that 'we must do good and do no harm.' When nurses become organizational leaders, they change faces somewhat because they now represent numerous perspectives within the organization. As a graduate student in nursing administration, I believe, however, that as nurse leaders we must continue to represent the welfare of our patients.
Nurse leaders need to utilize their power as leaders in a judicious manner, always upholding their duty to all patients. Milton (2010) has defined the word '˜judicious' as 'coming to know something and'¦living valued priorities where there is potential discord.' Based upon this definition, I would suggest that nurse leaders use their power judiciously to implement a culture of moral courage throughout their institutions, a culture that allows them to preserve and protect their patients and to advocate, transparently, for their patients' good at all times.
Thank you Dr. Edmonson, for bringing moral courage in nursing administration into the spotlight, and thus facilitating the growth of current and upcoming leaders in nursing.
Regina Thompson, BSN, RN
Master's Student for Nursing Administration
University of Texas at Arlington
Milton, C. (2010). Nursing ethics and power in position. Nursing Science Quarterly, 23 (1), 18-21.