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From Jan Bergen, President & CEO

Health care is a fast-paced, high-pressure profession. We are called upon to make hundreds of decisions, both large and small, every day.

As patient care continues to grow more complex and challenging, the idea of “moral distress” is increasingly recognized in nurses and other health-care professionals. This occurs when you have a clear idea of what should be done for a patient, but something prevents you from doing it.

Health systems nationwide, including the University of Pennsylvania Health System, are researching and discussing what causes moral distress and what can be done to prevent these difficult dilemmas. 

Moral distress can affect individuals both physically and emotionally, including feelings of frustration, guilt and powerlessness that can lead to burnout and job dissatisfaction. For health systems, it can damage morale, contribute to turnover and negatively impact quality of care.

While it can be challenging to speak up in these situations, it’s critical that you seek support.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health has a number of resources available to share your concerns:

  • You should always feel comfortable speaking with your manager. If he or she is not responsive to your concerns, please speak with their leader.
  • The Chaplaincy Team, 717-544-5979.
  • Request an ethics consult in Epic.
  • Your Human Resources Business Partner or Chief Human Resources Officer Alex Jorgensen.
  • Employees may receive three free counseling sessions annually through our Employee Assistance Program.
  • Confidential and anonymous reporting is available via the Compliance Hot Line, 215-P COMPLY, or Share Your Experience on StarNet.

I encourage you to take full advantage of these resources. Please be assured that your concern will be kept confidential, and you should not fear retaliation for speaking up.

We all want to do what’s best for our patients – and for each other. We take your concerns very seriously, and we are here to listen and help you find a solution.

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