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.

Social Work CE Credit: The Smith College School for Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and is therefore authorized to provide CEs as a postsecondary institution accredited by CSWE in many states. Courses offered through the School's Program of Professional Education are awarded continuing education credits in accordance with Continuing Education Regulation 258, CMR, 31.00 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Smith College School for Social Work, Office of Professional Education SW OPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0169. If outside these states, please contact your licensing board for accreditation information regarding your state. Association of Social Work Boards database of social work licensure requirements.

Psychology CE Credit: Co-sponsored training events for psychology CE credit with Smith College School for Social Work. Amego Prepare​ is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Amego Prepare maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Mary Curtin | Manager of Professional Education

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