Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Karen Rich

Second Advisor

Patsy Anderson

Advisor Department



The purpose of this senior honors thesis was to obtain descriptive data about the moral distress experienced by nursing students during clinical rotations in nursing school. This senior honors thesis is significant to nursing because, although moral distress is a well-researched topic, little to no information has been gathered regarding moral distress among the nursing student sub-culture. Nursing students are likely one of the most important groups in which moral distress needs to be explored, because experiencing it could lead to fewer people wanting to become a part of the nursing profession. The research design used quantitative methodology. The approach was a descriptive survey, with the survey being developed by the researcher. The nursing students’ perspectives were evaluated by asking questions about the student’s experiences in the clinical setting with faculty, health care providers within the hospital, and fellow students. The survey contained 25 questions. Twenty-four students signed consents to complete the survey in the graduating classes of Fall 2016 and Spring 2016. Twenty-two students responded and completed the survey. It was found that although only 9 of 22 students answered that they had experienced moral distress, more than half of the students answered yes to questions that focused on ethics-related experiences they had encountered. Also, more than half indicated unpleasant symptoms experienced after witnessing an unethical action, which typically might be described as moral distress. It was found that the nurses employed by the organizations were the main group that were perceived to be practicing unethically.

Included in

Nursing Commons