The Chinese version of moral sensitivity questionnaire-revised

Nurses face many ethical issues in their daily work of caring for patients. Ethical sensitivity equips nurses with the framework to make decisions in the best interest of their patients. By recognizing the presence of an ethical problem or an ethical dimension, nurses can determine its relative importance in a given situation and take action to solve the ethical problem in the context of the patient’s wishes and vulnerability. This ability is called “ethical sensitivity”.

Currently, there is no tool for assessing ethical sensitivity in Chinese. The authors translated the Moral Sensitivity Questionnaire–Revised Version (MSQ-R) into Chinese (MSQ-R-CV) in a standardized process, and evaluated the reliability and validity of MSQ-R-CV in a sample of 360 nurses working at tertiary and municipal hospitals in Changsha, China. The internal reliability of MSQ-R-CV was 0.82. Analysis supported a two-factor structure consisting of (1) moral responsibility and strength, and (2) sense of moral burden. This differed from the three-factor structure of the original English MSQ-R, illustrating that cultural values play an important role in shaping the ethical experience among healthcare professionals. The combined “moral responsibility and strength” factor suggested that heightened ethical sensitivity among Chinese nurses required not only awareness of the moral significance, but also courage or resilience to carry out the morally justified action. The second factor, “sense of moral burden” signified the moral impact experienced by nurses in their daily work. Moral burden is brought on by a problem or situation that involves moral values and is distinct from economic, psychological, or social burdens. Compared to moral responsibility and strength, the Chinese nurses’ sensitivity to moral burden was relatively low.

This study showed that the two-factor MSQ-R-CV with 9 items is a linguistically and culturally appropriate instrument for assessing ethical sensitivity among Chinese nurses. This instrument can facilitate the design of more studies to compare ethical sensitivity between Western and Chinese medical professionals. This tool can be crucial to the effective development and evaluation of interventions to promote ethical sensitivity in the cross-cultural context.



Cross-cultural validation of the moral sensitivity questionnaire-revised Chinese version.
Huang FF, Yang Q, Zhang J, Zhang QH, Khoshnood K, Zhang JP
Nurs Ethics. 2015 May 22


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