Change is a Constant…

Posted Aug 24, 2022

The Master of Science in Allied Health (MSAH) Program is continually evolving to meet the needs of our students, alumni, and the marketplace. This spring, changes to the exercise and health science track (MSAH program) were made to address issues of equity across the program as well as enhance student opportunities. The new curriculum requirement is 30 credit hours, which highlights the importance of behavior change in health promotion and builds on the strong foundation of the undergraduate Exercise and Health Science Program. The main goal of one of our professors and the previous MSAH graduate director, Erica Van Dop, was to add value to the MSAH program and create an opportunity for alumni and current exercise science and health promotion students to engage in new graduate-level coursework.   

Thank you, Dr. Van Dop, for your service as the MSAH graduate director for the last two years.

We are excited to announce that Dr. Paul Longenecker resumed the role of the MSAH graduate director on July 1, 2022.

Moral Distress of Healthcare Leaders  

During the last few years, individuals throughout the world have experienced increased stress and anxiety related to the pandemic, inflation, political tension, and supply chain issues. These issues have been intensified within the healthcare world.  

A concept that has always been present in healthcare, but has been exacerbated during this time, is moral distress. Moral distress arises when one knows the right thing to do, but institutional constraints make it nearly impossible to pursue the right course of action (Jameton, 1984). This definition has been broadened over the years to encompass when an individual understands the ethically correct thing to do but feels prevented from acting on that perceived obligation (Wocial & Weaver, 2013). Most of the research on moral distress has focused on healthcare clinicians primarily in critical care settings and with nurses. Many factors are involved in creating the environment that triggers moral distress.  

During the pandemic, in addition to clinicians, many healthcare leaders expressed concerns about being able to make the best decisions although they knew what they should do. Based on this observation, a research study was conducted to understand moral distress in healthcare leaders (Longenecker, 2021). In this study, participants were from multiple states in the U.S., and on average, had more than 10-years of experience. They personally thought that they were very familiar with moral distress but believed that their employees were not as familiar. When asked about situations that can trigger moral distress, their results mirrored previous research. The key finding from this research was that “limited resources” were the most significant trigger of moral distress for healthcare leaders. Based on the findings from this study, healthcare leaders appear to be experiencing moral distress in a similar fashion as healthcare clinicians.  

Dr. Paul Longenecker, RN, MBA  

MSAH Graduate Director   


Jameton, A. (1984). Nursing Practice: The Ethical Issues. Englewood Cliffs: NJ: Prentice-Hall 

Wocial, L. D., & Weaver, M. T. (2013). Development and Psychometric Testing of a New Tool for Detecting Moral Distress: The Moral Distress Thermometer. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 69(1), 167-174. 

Longenecker, P.D. (2021). Evaluating Moral Distress of Healthcare Leaders (Unpublished). Otterbein University. 

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