Raising awareness of patient dignity
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Raising awareness of patient dignity

Lesley Baillie Reader in healthcare, University of Bedfordshire, Aylesbury
Ann Gallagher Reader in nursing ethics and director, International Centre for Nursing Ethics, University of Surrey, Guildford

Maintaining patient dignity is an important aspect of nursing care. However, the behaviour of nurses and other healthcare professionals may affect delivery of dignified care. An educational initiative, developed for a UK dignity campaign, incorporated visual metaphors to prompt nurses’ reflection and raise their awareness of behaviour that can compromise patient dignity. During a qualitative evaluation of the campaign’s progress at seven healthcare organisations, interviews were carried out with 51 staff with local leadership roles in the campaign. This article reports on their perceptions of the effect of the visual metaphors on nursing staff. Three sub-themes emerged: challenging staff defensiveness about their practice, recognising practice that compromises patient dignity, and questioning everyday practice in the care environment. The use of visual metaphors stimulated reflection among staff regarding their contribution to enhancing or diminishing patient dignity. There is a need for further research in this area to examine subsequent changes in practice and their sustainability in relation to promoting and maintaining dignity in care.

Nursing Standard. 27, 5,44-49. doi: 10.7748/ns2012.10.27.5.44.c9333

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This article has been subject to double blind peer review

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