The Patient's Dignity From the Nurse's Perspective
Heijkenskjöld, Katarina Bredenhof
Nursing ethics 2010 May ; 17(3): 313-24
The aim of this study was to understand how nurses experience patients' dignity in Swedish medical wards. A hermeneutic approach and Flanagan's critical incident technique were used for data collection. Twelve nurses took part in the study. The data were analysed using hermeneutic text interpretation. The findings show that the nurses who wanted to preserve patients' dignity by seeing them as fellow beings protected the patients by stopping other nurses from performing unethical acts. They regard patients as fellow human beings, friends, and unique persons with their own history, and have the courage to see when patients' dignity is violated, although this is something they do not wish to see because it makes them feel bad. Nurses do not have the right to deny patients their dignity or value as human beings. The new understanding arrived at by the hermeneutic interpretation is that care in professional nursing must be focused on taking responsibility for and protecting patients' dignity.
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