J Korean Acad Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs.  2018 Sep;27(3):199-207. 10.12934/jkpmhn.2018.27.3.199.

Factors associated with Nurses' Moral Sensitivity

  • 1Graduate Student, Graduate School of Converging Clinical · Public Health, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Associate Professor, College of Nursing, Ewha Research Institute of Nursing Science, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea. suksunkim@ewha.ac.kr


The purposes of this study were to examine the associations among moral reasoning, empathy, communication self-efficacy, and moral sensitivity and to determine predictors of nurses' moral sensitivity.
Data were collected from 194 nurses in the Republic of Korea. Structured questionnaires consisted of the Moral Sensitivity Questionnaire, Defining Issues Test, Jefferson Scale of Empathy, and Counseling Self-Estimate Inventory. The collected data were analyzed using t-tests, one-way ANOVA, Pearson's correlation coefficient, and hierarchical regression analysis using SPSS ver. 21.
Nurses' moral sensitivities were significantly associated with frequency of ethical education, empathy, and communication self-efficacy. In hierarchical multiple regression models, the significant factors of nurses' moral sensitivity were age (β=.21, p=.044), the frequency of experience in ethics education (β=.18, p=.007), empathy (β=.32, p < .001), and communication self-efficacy (β=.25, p=.001), which explained 33.2% of the variance in nurses' moral sensitivity.
Our study findings show that nurses' moral sensitivity could be enhanced by more frequent ethics education programs. In addition, nursing ethics education might be developed to include potential strategies to improve empathy and self-efficacy in communication for high levels of moral sensitivity in nurses.


Moral development; Morals; Empathy; Communication; Nurses
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