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Title: Professional autonomy and associations with nurse-physician collaboration and moral distress in European intensive care nurses
Authors: Papathanassoglou, Elizabeth 
Kalafati, Maria 
Giannakopoulou, Margarita D. 
Lemonidou, Chryssoula 
Albarran, John W. 
Karanikola, Maria 
Keywords: Adult
Attitude of health personnel
Cross-sectional studies
Intensive care
Job satisfaction
Nursing staff
Physician-nurse relations
Professional autonomy
Issue Date: Mar-2012
Publisher: HighWire Press
Source: American Journal of Critical Care, 2012, Volume 21, No. 2, e41-e52
Abstract: Background Discretionary autonomy is a key factor in enhanced patient outcomes and nurses’ work satisfaction. Among nurses, insufficient autonomy can result in moral distress. Objectives To explore levels of autonomy among European critical care nurses and potential associations of autonomy with nurse-physician collaboration, moral distress, and nurses’ characteristics. Methods Descriptive correlational study of a convenience sample of 255 delegates attending a major European critical care conference in 2009. Respondents completed a selfadministered questionnaire with validated scales for nurses’ autonomy, nurse-physician collaboration, and moral distress. Results The mean autonomy score (84.26; SD, 11.7; range, 18-108) and the mean composite (frequency and intensity) moral distress score (73.67; SD, 39.19; range, 0-336) were both moderate. The mean collaboration score was 47.85 (SD, 11.63; range, 7-70). Italian and Greek nurses reported significantly lower nurse-physician collaboration than did other nurses (P < .001). Greek and German nurses reported significantly higher moral distress (P < .001). Autonomy scores were associated with nurse-physician collaboration scores (P < .001) and with a higher frequency of moral distress (P = .04). Associations were noted between autonomy and work satisfaction (P = .001). Frequency of moral distress was associated inversely with collaboration (r = -0.339; P < .001) and autonomy (r = -0.210; P = .01) and positively with intention to quit (r = 0.257; P = .004). Conclusions In this sample of European intensive care nurses, lower autonomy was associated with increased frequency and intensity of moral distress and lower levels of nurse-physician collaboration.
DOI: 10.4037/ajcc2012205
Rights: © American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
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