Dignity and Respect for Dignity -- Two Key Health Professional Values: Implications for Nursing Practice
Nursing Ethics 2004 November; 11(6): 587-599
It is argued that dignity can be considered both subjectively, taking into account individual differences and idiosyncrasies, and objectively, as the foundation of human rights. Dignity can and should also be explored as both an other-regarding and a self- regarding value: respect for the dignity of others and respect for one's own personal and professional dignity. These two values appear to be inextricably linked. Aristotle's doctrine of the mean enables nurses to reflect on the appropriate degree of respect for the dignity of others and of respect for themselves. To develop an understanding of the rationale for and the significance and implications of dignity in health care practice, a view of human nature is proposed that implies vulnerability and fallibility, and that urges that an ethic of aspiration is embraced. Anonymized vignettes are included to illustrate points about the everyday nature of dignity.
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