Moral Distress in Engagement Professionals, with Mark Weir

Our guest Mark Weir is a seasoned engagement professional working in healthcare. Typically, engagement-related communities of practice tend to focus on things like best practices and ‘how to’ – not so much on the emotional toll it can take to fully engage in the work. In a recent IAP2 Canada workshop, Mark explored the effects of “moral distress”, which he defines as feeling stuck and wanting to do the right thing but constrained due to systemic or institutional barriers – which are beyond the engagement professional’s control. We spoke to Mark about the experience of carrying these kinds of burdens, which can go unseen or unacknowledged.

Not only did we get to delve deeper into the experience of engagement work – this was also an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of engagement in general. What are some possible causes of this distress? And what does it say about the overall project of patient engagement? 

In this episode, we hear from Mark about the challenges faced by engagement professionals (in healthcare) due to moral distress, and then later in the episode, we try to sort through some of the bigger, confounding questions that seem to follow us from episode to episode!

* This episode was updated Feb 5 2022 to correct our error in misstating Mark’s training. His background is in genetics and health ethics. 

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Mentioned in this episode:

Additional music and production support provided by Angus Turney