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Examining Moral Distress and Injury resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic: Insights from the Ghanaian Radiography Workforce

Ohene-Botwe, B. ORCID: 0000-0002-0477-640X & Antwi, W. K. (2024). Examining Moral Distress and Injury resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic: Insights from the Ghanaian Radiography Workforce. Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences,


Background: Moral distress has been an issue under consideration in healthcare practice. The COVID-19 pandemic became a critical factor that contributed to heightened moral distress and injury among healthcare professionals, including radiographers. Despite the substantial engagement of radiographers in the management of COVID-19 patients, the consequent moral distress and injury states experienced by this critical frontline workforce have not been widely explored. This study investigated the level of moral distress and the coping mechanisms employed by radiographers in Ghana during the pandemic to provide valuable information to support radiographers and prepare the workforce better against any future pandemics.

Methods: Utilising a cross-sectional design, a survey approach was employed for data collection between June 2023 and August 2023 from clinically-active radiographers who were working before and during the pandemic in Ghana. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were generated using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (v.26).

Results: Hundred (100) radiographers participated in the study. The result demonstrated that the COVID-19 pandemic escalated the risk of moral distress among radiographers from 22% (n=22) to 43% (n=43), with 33% (n=33) exhibiting signs of moral injury. This escalation impacted the mental health of 12% (n=12) of respondents and was reported as a contributor to career-changing decisions among radiographers. Notably, many of those affected did not seek formal support but relied on family support as a strategy. Inadequate resources (69%, n=69), notably consumables, emerged as the primary cause of moral distress. The study underscored that the most effective means of mitigating moral distress in radiographers was through the provision of resources and additional staff support (66%, n=66).

Conclusion: This study sheds light on the state of moral distress and injury among radiographers during the COVID-19 pandemic, impacting the mental health of a minority and contributing to career-changing decisions. The findings emphasise the importance for healthcare institutions to proactively implement systems, such as resource provision, improved staffing, and emotional support, now and during similar future pandemics. This is crucial to address moral distress and cater to the mental health needs of radiographers, ensuring a resilient clinical radiography workforce.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Moral Distress, Moral Injury; Psychological Impact, Radiographers; Ethical Dilemma.
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
SWORD Depositor:
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