Patient Dignity In Nursing

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The NMC Code states “Treat people as individuals and uphold their dignity”. Although dignity can often be difficult to ensure for every patient, especially when many procedures are invasive and require intimate details of a patient’s lifestyle, it is important as a nurse to always preserve and respect a patient’s dignity. (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2015) This document explores what dignity is to a patient, how it can be maintained in a hospital and, why dignity is important to patients.

Treating an individual with dignity is to treat them with respect, ensuring they feel worthy and are valued as an individual. Dignity in nursing is how an individual feels, thinks and behaves based on how much worth and value they feel for themselves and others. (Royal College of Nursing, 2008) Participants in a study exploring patient dignity in hospital settings (Baillie, 2008) discovered that patients describe dignity as “… feeling valued: feeling of consequence, feeling cared for, self-respect and self-esteem.” Participants also described dignity as feeling in control of their care. (Baillie,
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(Royal College of Nursing, 2008) Participants of Baillie’s research not only described dignity as feeling in control of their care, but it was later clarified how nurses encourage patients to be in control of their care; providing them with dignity. Methods in providing the control patients require include: explaining the procedure/treatment, providing the patient with necessary information about the procedure/treatment (side effects, success rates, etc.), offering choices in the care provided to them, gaining consent from the patient for procedures, and promoting independence. (Baillie, L.

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