Nurses are fundamental to the delivery of quality, safe and competent health care in multilevel complex systems. Faced with challenging, dynamic, and evolving patient care and workforce issues, nurses must create ethical environments, which foster a respectful climate in which decisions are made and supported. The current study examined the relationship between ethical climate, frequency of moral distress, intensity of moral distress, and overall job satisfaction among registered nurses at two hospitals located in the Southeastern United States as measured by the Moral Distress Scale and the Hospital Ethical Climate Survey. The results of the correlational study suggest a weak relationship between ethical climate and moral distress, but a moderate relationship exists between ethical climate and job satisfaction. Findings from this study highlight the importance of creating an ethical environment to improve job satisfaction which can ultimately result in improved patient care.

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