Moral Distress, Moral Injury, Self-Care and Self-Preservation

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Course Description

Moral distress is described as the discord that occurs when the ethically correct course of action (the “right” thing to do) is known, but cannot be utilized due to internal or external limitations. In social work, moral distress contributes to our own sense of well-being, our ability to work toward equity and social justice and to our strengths in maintaining our own well-being and sense of self in the clinical space. This webinar will provide an in-depth examination of the concepts of moral distress and moral injury and the increased incidence of these experiences since the COVId-19 pandemic began. We will examine tension points in the moral and ethical space for social workers, and also in the healthcare teams we are an integral part of. We will also examine unique circumstances in pediatric oncology care that impact moral distress. Finally, suggestions for social work leadership in the identification, management and processing of moral distress in cancer care teams will be addressed.

Learning Objectives

  1. Differentiate the experience of moral distress from compassion fatigue/secondary traumatic stress/vicarious trauma/burnout.
  2. Understand the impact of moral distress and moral injury on our ethical delivery of care.
  3. Describe how limited internal and external resources can impact the services we provide to patients as well as contribute to our own moral distress and moral injury.
  4. Recognize areas where social workers can advocate for increased resource allocation, shared decision making and equitable access to care.


Christina Bach, LCSW, MBE, OSW-C, FAOSW  Christina Bach is a board certified, clinical oncology social worker, social work bioethicist and educator. She is the Psychosocial Content Editor for, the Financial Navigation Specialist for the Cancer Support Community Helpline and a Field Liaison at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. She is a board member of the Board of Oncology Social Work Certification and Comfort Caring Canines Therapy Dogs, Inc. Christina focuses her clinical work on patient and caregiver empowerment and engagement through education. Her practice interests include ethics in medical settings, financial toxicity, trauma in cancer care and animal assisted therapy. Christina is also the social work facilitator of the Philadelphia Multiple Myeloma Networking Group and leads the Delaware Valley Social Work Oncology Group (SWOG). For self-care, Christina enjoys knitting, cooking, traveling, and spending time with her rescued beagles, Linus, Huckleberry and Eugene.

Continuing Education Credits

Application for CE contact hours has been made by APOSW (Provider #886400741-2116) through the National Association of Social Workers (national office). Students are responsible for reviewing whether their state accepts these CE contact hours. APOSW is also recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers (#SW-0441). This course is eligible for continuing education credit when completed by 12/31/22.

CE Credit Earned: 1.0 Hours.*
Course Completion Date: This course must be completed not later than 11:59 PM EST on December 31, 2022.*