Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level





Natarajan, Ram

Committee Member/Reader

Delezene, Lucas

Committee Member/Second Reader

Kayser, Casey

Committee Member/Third Reader

Jones, Linda


For doctors and other health care professionals, experiences of care too often involve burnout and moral distress. Making both visible to begin addressing them takes up the main concern of my thesis. Burnout and moral distress swallow a life. Suddenly you aren’t going on that shopping trip with friends, you can forget about going to that movie or play. You are too tired to drag yourself out of bed, instead getting caught in a cycle of sleep and work with no time for a break or even to process what happened last shift. Who’s going to have a nice relaxing day to yourself? Not you. You are instead going to stew in your stress and review situations over and over again to try to find what you could have done different, done better. A nice dinner with family sounds nice, until you realize that they don’t understand when you talk about work, they get uncomfortable when you mention the patient who died. A night out with friends seems like fun, too bad you can’t remember it. At least the alcohol numbed the pain for a while. If someone notices, says something, it’s so easy to say, “I'm fine”, because how could they understand anyways? There is a prevailing sense of frustration, entrapment, and hopelessness that starts to drown you, and the next shift looms with crushing dread. In my research, primarily inspired by and based on my work as a Patient Care Technician, I sought to understand the effects and experiences of one of these challenging topics, burnout, and moral distress in healthcare professionals. I used semi-structured interviews with volunteering healthcare professionals and utilized personal narratives and experiences of participants since the "experience of suffering, it is often noted, is not effectively conveyed by statistics or graphs. The "texture" of dire affliction is perhaps best felt in the gritty details of biography"15. I interviewed four healthcare professionals, all of whom work primarily in a hospital setting, and talked informally with many others who did not wish to conduct a full interview. I additionally utilized participant observation through my position as a patient care tech working in the Acute Care Unit (ACU) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to help me better understand the experiences and perspectives of those who I interviewed.


Moral Distress, Burnout, Moral Injury, Healthcare, Medicine