Close up photo on a nurse or doctor wearing scrubs with their arms crossed and a stethoscope around their neck

Ohio Nurses Foundation awards $100,000 for nurses moral injury research

The Ohio Nurses Foundation announced on May 10 that a team led by Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, the Elizabeth Brooks Ford Professor of Nursing at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University would lead a multi-university research project on moral injury in nursing. The research will be conducted by a team of researchers spanning multiple universities.

Other researchers from Case Western Reserve include Grant A. Pignatiello, PhD; from the University of Cincinnati, Minjin Kim, Ph.D.; and from The Ohio State University Sharon Tucker, PhD, Dónal O’Mathúna, PhD, and Jin Jun, PhD.

“When selecting the research group, it was important to the Foundation for the research team to be from Ohio and focused on how registered nurses in all practice settings across the state are experiencing moral injury, especially after COVID-19,” said Susan Stocker, chair of the Ohio Nurses Foundation.

The Ohio Nurses Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Ohio Nurses Association, a nonprofit charity founded in 2002. Its mission is to provide funding to advance nursing as a learned profession through education, research and scholarship.

The research team, who call themselves “Ohio’s Moral Injury Team,” are composed primarily of registered nurse investigators prepared at the doctoral level. The research will focus on how registered nurses in all practice settings across the state of Ohio are experiencing moral injury in the workplace.

“Nursing is a hazardous occupation. Nurses’ health and well-being have been negatively affected by the work environment and their personal lives for decades,” Tucker said. “Known to be self-sacrificing, nurses put their own needs last, which has been clearly demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moral injury is one outcome of the self-sacrificing that deeply impacts nurses’ well-being.'”

The research will not only collect data on moral injury in nursing, but will also encourage nurses to share their story.

“Narrative nursing is a unique intervention that empowers nurses to share their collective experiences, building a strong professional bond among participants,” Fitzpatrick said. “We will use this intervention to help Ohio nurses who cared for patients and families during the COVID-19 pandemic toward the goal of enhancing nurses’ wellbeing and resilience.”

Minjin Kim, from the University of Cincinnati, added: “Narrative nursing is a promising approach to foster healing and well-being of nurses who suffered mental stress and trauma during the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe our intervention can create cohesion, solidarity, and resilience by allowing nurses to share and reflect their individual experiences during the pandemic while engaging in other nurses’ collective struggles.”

If you are an Ohio registered nurse and would like to participate in the study, please contact Michelle Donovan at, Ohio Nurses Foundation.

To listen to this week’s announcement, visit the Ohio Nurses Foundation’s Facebook page.