Moral Distress and COVID-19



WEBINAR | Wednesday, November 4, 2020, noon - 1:30 p.m. ET
Instructor: Vickie Leff, LCSW, BCD, APHSW-C

CEs: 1.5 CEs are available for social workers and psychologists for a $5 fee
Level: Intermediate

The impact of moral distress during the COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges and opportunities for social workers in a variety of fields. Moral distress is defined (Jameton 1984) as the distress one feels when you know what the right thing to do is but constraints, most often institutional, make it nearly impossible to pursue the right course of action. This webinar will discuss the fundamental issues related to moral distress, using evidence-based literature and case examples. Applying a clinical lens to better understand the convergence of countertransference and moral distress will also help us define best strategies for mitigating the harmful effects of moral distress during a period of crisis.

Target Audience:

Social workers and other social service providers.

Course Delivery Method and Format:

Synchronous webinar with lecture and Q&A

Registration Fee and Deadline:

Early registration (by September 25, 2020): $30

Regular registration (by November 3, 2020): $39

CEs: 1.5 CEs are available for social workers and psychologists for a $5 fee. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define moral distress during COVID-19
  2. Identify five reactions to moral distress
  3. Describe three ways moral distress and countertransference may converge
  4. Identify three strategies for mitigating moral distress on an individual, team and institutional level


  1. Introduction and overview
  2. Moral distress in the time of COVID-19
  3. Moral distress in social workers
  4. Morals, ethics and countertransference
  5. Conclusion; Q&A

Instructor Biography:

Vickie Leff attended Simmons School of Social Work graduating in 1982. She has worked in the medical field since that time as a clinician in oncology, palliative care and hospice. Leff is an adjunct Instructor at the UNC School of Social Work, Chapel Hill. She also consults with a variety of organizations on clinical social work curriculum development.


Completion Requirements: 

To receive a CE certificate, you must attend the entirety of the webinar. Partial credit will not be awarded to those who attend only a portion of the webinar. For webinars, participant attendance is tracked through Zoom. Participants must also complete a post test and an evaluation.  It is attendees responsibility to contact their state licensing board/certification boards to determine eligibility to meet continuing education requirements.

How Certificate is Awarded:

Upon completing the evaluation, and other documents such as post test and attestation if applicable, participants will be emailed their online certificate​ within 30 days of course completion​. ​Participants should save and/or print ​the certificate upon receipt for ​their records. Receiving the CE certificate is contingent on completion of the evaluation and other necessary documents.

Further information on policies and CE accreditation can be found here.

Mary Curtin | Manager of Professional Education

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