Deployment Stressors in United States Air Force Nurses Associated with the Experience of Moral Distress

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Deployment stressors among military service members are well-documented in the literature such as those related to the horrific experiences often encountered in a war setting. However, less known are the implications of military healthcare professionals providing clinical care in a deployed setting. Previously conducted research examined the experience of moral distress in U.S. Air Force Critical Care Air Transport (CCAT) nurses. A secondary analysis was completed to identify the deployment stressors which affected the nurses' experiences of moral distress. Utilizing an explanatory narrative qualitative approach, 15 previously transcribed interviews were analyzed to identify and describe stressors associated with moral distress experiences told by CCAT nurses in the earlier research study. While the identified stressors cannot be referred to as moral distress, the situation were precipitated or exacerbated by the deployment stressors. Eight themes, with descriptors, resulted from the analysis of interviews. Mitigating strategies to target deployment stressors related to the experience of moral distress may equip healthcare providers to better manage the encounters that arise in the deployed environment, thereby reducing its negative impact.



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