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Dignity in nursing care: What does it mean to nursing students?

Mullen, Rosemary F; Kydd, Angela; Fleming, Anne; McMillan, Laura


Rosemary F Mullen

Angela Kydd

Anne Fleming

Laura McMillan


Background: Despite growing interest in the potential of nursing education to enhance dignity in nursing care, relatively little is known about what dignity means to nursing students.
Research question: What meaning does dignity in nursing care have for nursing students?
Research design: Photo-elicitation was embedded within a Nominal Group Technique and responses were analysed by qualitative and quantitative content analysis.
Participants and research context: Participants were recruited from each year of a 3-year undergraduate preregistration adult nursing programme in Scotland. In total, 31 nursing students participated in the study.
Ethical considerations: The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery, University of the West of Scotland.
Findings: Participants articulated the meaning of dignity in nursing care in terms of the relationships and feelings involved. A total of 10 categories of meaning were identified.
Discussion: The significance of the nature of the nurse–patient interaction to preserving dignity in nursing
care is highlighted.
Conclusion: Understanding the meaning of dignity for nursing students may help prepare future nurses
more able to preserve dignity in nursing care.


Mullen, R. F., Kydd, A., Fleming, A., & McMillan, L. (2017). Dignity in nursing care: What does it mean to nursing students?. Nursing Ethics,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 15, 2017
Online Publication Date Sep 21, 2017
Publication Date Sep 21, 2017
Deposit Date Sep 21, 2017
Publicly Available Date Sep 21, 2017
Journal Nursing Ethics
Print ISSN 0969-7330
Electronic ISSN 1477-0989
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Content analysis, dignity in care, ethics education, nursing students, photo-elicitation, topic areas Background
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