Seminar Series – Moral Distress: A Time for Hope?
1800 Orleans Street
Baltimore, MD 21287
Moral Distress: A Time for Hope?
Alisa L. Carse, Ph.D
‘Moral distress’ is a term originally coined to refer to the suffering, frustration, and outrage of nurses who found themselves compromising their own integrity under conditions of institutional constraint and duress. It is now recognized as a growing reality for clinicians across clinical disciplines and roles. While the “epidemic” of moral distress poses serious challenges both to clinician well-being and to the quality of clinical care, moral distress is also a call of conscience that signals genuine investment in moral standards and commitments. It thus has great potential, if properly worked with and directed, to motivate and inform moral reform. This talk will explore both key challenges and important forms of positive potential held by moral distress, highlighting the need for responsive environments, in which claims of moral distress are heard and given ‘uptake,’ not as a mere expressions of individual suffering, but as significant and hopeful forms of moral protest.
Alisa L. Carse, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Faculty Affiliate of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. She has served as the James F. Slevin Senior Fellow for Teaching and Pedagogy at the Center for Social Justice, Research, Teaching and Service (2007– 2010) and as a Visiting Scholar (2000) and Senior Research Fellow at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics (1989-2001). Her teaching and research are centered in moral philosophy, social and political theory, moral psychology, and gender theory. Her current research explores cultural, moral, and political subordination and its antidotes. She is interested in particular in exploring the repercussions of subordination for individual and group identity, effective moral agency, and – correlatively – how we best conceive the nature and limits of liberty. In a related series of projects, she is examining the role of key affiliative virtues (e.g., empathy, imagination, trust and trustworthiness, respectful curiosity) in achieving justice, individual moral resilience, and morally healthy forms of sociality and solidarity.