Feelings of guilt or shame 

2 min read
Feelings of guilt or shame 

In the course of your professional duties, you may be faced with difficult decisions that are not in keeping with your values or moral code. You may have to prevent families from visiting their loved ones at highly distressing times, or you may be unable to achieve the outcomes for patients or clients that you would hope for. This can lead to feelings of guilt or distress, which is sometimes described as moral injury.

Things that can help

Speak to your colleagues and teams if you feel able. It may be that many people are experiencing something similar. Be kind and compassionate to yourself, remembering that many things are outside of your control and you are tied by the rules of the organisation.   While this is difficult, it reflects what is necessary and possible in the current situation. Remember that doing your best looks different under different circumstances.

For more information on moral injury and how to cope: Moral Injury

Understanding responses to stress

This article is part of a series aimed at helping you understand responses to stress. Emergency situations, whether national, local, or within your team, are stressful and we want to equip you to manage them. There are a number of reactions that you or your colleagues might find yourself experiencing when faced with this stress, each article in this series is intended to help you overcome these.

You can read the other articles in the series by following the links below.

Feeling numb and detached

Unpleasant, intrusive memories or bad dreams

A change in my behaviour – avoiding reminders and people

Difficulty concentrating or making decisions

Feeling tense, on edge, or restless

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