Student nurses' perceptions of dignity in the care of older people

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-280
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - 22 Mar 2017


The aim of this research was to investigate student nurses' perceptions of the concept of dignity in the care of older people. Student nurses regularly move between the classroom and the clinical setting and are thus ideally placed to cast light on the barriers that exist to providing dignity in care and the way in which their theoretical understanding of dignity is shaped by exposure to the practice setting.

All student nurses on a three-year undergraduate nursing programme at one university were invited to participate in an online questionnaire survey and focus groups.

Students equated the practice of upholding dignity with listening to individuals, involving them in decision making and maintaining their privacy. Participants were mostly confident about what dignity meant in practice, but were unsure about the more theoretical aspects. Four major barriers to the promotion of dignity were highlighted—these were organisational, environmental, professional and personal in nature.

Dignity education should occupy a more prominent position in pre-registration nursing programmes.

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  1. Delirium in older people in hospital: an education programme

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ID: 2381407