A Descriptive Analysis of the Impact of Moral Distress on the Evaluation of Unsatisfactory Nursing Students
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BACKGROUND: Nurse educators assume a difficult role when evaluating unsatisfactory students, including those at risk for failure in clinical and classroom settings. While the decisional dilemma inherent in evaluating unsatisfactory students has been well documented in literature, little is known about how moral distress impacts the nurse educators' decisions regarding whether to pass or to fail unsatisfactory students. PURPOSE: This article aims to provide a descriptive analysis of the moral dilemmas and the potential impact of moral distress experienced by nurse educators when evaluating the performance of unsatisfactory students in clinical and classroom courses. METHODS: Nathaniel's theory of moral reckoning guided the descriptive analysis of six studies to understand how nurse educators work through moral dilemmas, make decisions, and provide justification for their decisions when evaluating the performance of unsatisfactory students. FINDINGS: Nathaniel's theory has been shown to be helpful in discussing the dilemma of evaluating unsatisfactory students, and it is a suitable framework for nurse educators in working through their dilemmas as a form of structured reflection. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: The outcomes of this descriptive analysis highlight the need for educational administrators to provide support to undergraduate nurse educators experiencing moral distress in this type of situation.
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