The NMC code 2015 outlined standards and core values nurses must follow, therefore, our lectures focused around these to empower healthcare professionals to adapt to and deliver a quality service. The lecture I would be exploring emphasised on dignity, importance of dignity and how to encourage it. On a personal account, I thought I had a broad understanding of how to promote patient’s dignity. Nevertheless, after three hours of lesson on the subject, I have realized that there is a lot more to it. Dignity is a broad topic when properly studied. Dignity is a powerful tool that can determine a person’s life and relationship with others suggested by Hinks, D. 2013. The poem ‘what do you see?’ RCN, 2017, demonstrates the power of dignity. The poem represents a woman who is beseeching to be seen for who she is, not ‘an old woman’ but someone who had lived a full life with feelings and emotions reinforcing the value of providing person centred care (RCN,2017).
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My feelings throughout the lesson changed considerably, leaving me to desire more of the lesson. Matti and Baillie (2011) proposed dignity as our innate value, merit and worth as human beings. To this end, the lecturer emphasized on respect making it clear that respecting people and making them feel worth is not just about caring for them, rather, it takes into consideration the whole process of how we approach and visually demonstrating dignity to the patients. I found that the NMC code (2015), stressed that as nurses, we have a duty of care to reach out for the physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual needs of our patients. So, give a holistic care by taking into consideration the individual as a whole. Hence, we need to prioritize patients’ care and dedicate time to them by preserving and promoting dignity through effective communication and supportive relationships. Emphasizing on these, it incorporated within me a sense of awkwardness and to realise how significant it is for me as a person to be valued. Following the Poem ”What do you see? (RCN, 2017) I understood how patients are treated inhumanely. I felt like it is more dangerous to ignore patient’s emotion as this may have a huge impact on their personality It made me apprehended that, as a student nurse my responsibility is to work as part of a safeguarding team to raise concerns when I come across things that endanger patients’ worth and value according to the Local Government Association (2012). I found social care Act 2012 and CQC (2016) reinforcing on the link between dignity, quality and safeguarding indicating that the nurses, however, were not promoting dignity and therefore do not portray a good quality service so safeguarding is likely to decrease.
The lecturer, also, underpinned the importance of personal appearance which connects to the concept of dignity because of the way uniform makes nurses feel and behave and how their appearance has an impact on patients supported by Chochinov’s (2007) ABCD Framework (attitude, behaviour, compassion and dialogue) which reinforces essential things nurses need to be aware of when delivering care.
Subsequently, this lesson appeared to pose more challenges. I felt highly challenged to question and evaluate on the type of staff I might be. I was challenged to think differently following Chochinov’s (2007) self-awareness tool which got me thinking about if I would be able to provide a quality service to my patients while trying to promote dignity and what challenges I might face when dealing with safeguarding issues. However, after reflecting on myself and considering my attitude, behaviour, how I show empathy and compassion through communication, I felt confident to go out there and to demonstrate what I have learned with patients. I now feel like I am competent enough to fully and independently care for a person thus building a supportive relationship with them (Chochinov’s 2007). Furthermore, this lecture helped me to comprehend the impact we as nurses can have on a patient as a person.
In conclusion, dignity is how people feel, think and behave in relation to their worth or value. To treat someone with dignity is to show them as being worth and valued in a way that is exalt their diversity. Dignity may be endorsed or reduced by the physical setting, structural principles, approaches and conduct of others. When dignity is present, people feel in control, relaxed and able to make decisions for themselves, whereas when it is absent people feel devalued and lack control. Therefore, in my placement, I would do all the necessary things to ensure the value and worth of my patients, thus considering an approachable method of communication and rapport by making them feel at ease. Also, using person-centred care and empathy (RCN 2016).
CARE QUALITY COMMISSION (CQC). 2010. Essential standards of quality and safety. London: HMSO.
Chochinov (2007). Preserving patients’ dignity lends value to end of life: AHC Media: https://www.ahcmedia.com/articles/106003-preserving-patients-dignity-lends-value-to-end-of-life (accessed 24/02/17)
Gibbs’ (1988) Reflective cycle. Available at: https://hhs.hud.ac.uk/lqsu/Sessionsforall/supp/Gibbs%201988%20reflective%20cycle.pdf (Accessed 24/02/17)
Hick, D. (2013) What Is the Real Meaning of Dignity? Psychology today. Available at https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dignity/201304/what-is-the-real-meaning-dignity-0 (Accessed 27/02/17)
LGA (2012) Dignity, quality and safeguarding adult: Establishing Local Health Watch Health. Available at http://www.local.gov.uk/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=d0235875-2da8-4a5c-a655-2f3600663f5d&groupId=10180 (Accessed 24/02/17)
MATITI, M.R. and BAILLIE, L., eds., 2011. Dignity in Healthcare: a practical approach for nurses and midwives. London: Radcliffe.
NURSING & MIDWIFERY COUNCIL (NMC). 2015. The code: Standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives. London: NMC
RCN (2017) Dignity and me: Available at: https://www2.rcn.org.uk/development/practice/cpd_online_learning/dignity_in_health_care/dignity_and_me (Accessed 24/04/15)
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