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Patient Dignity: Exploring Oncology Nurses’ Perceptions During End-of-Life Care

Barbara Crump

dignity, nurse perceptions, end of life, terminal illness, patient care
CJON 2019, 23(3), E46-E51. DOI: 10.1188/19.CJON.E46-E51

Background: Research on nurses’ perceptions of dignity is limited, with much work instead focusing on patients’ experiences. Maintaining the dignity of patients is considered to be an important element of nursing care; however, it is often diminished by the acts and omissions of healthcare providers.

Objectives: The purposes of this study were to understand oncology nurses’ perceptions of care that supports patients’ dignity during end-of-life hospitalization and to propose a theoretical foundation consistent with these perceptions as a guide to practice.

Methods: A qualitative study using grounded theory was employed. Semistructured interviews with 11 experienced female oncology nurses generated insights into their perceptions of dignity in caring for terminally ill patients. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method until data saturation was reached.

Findings: This study revealed an emerging model for dignity care that uses communication, support, and facilitation in the education of nurses during end-of-life care. The proposed model could enhance the facilitation of nursing education and aid in the design of nursing course curricula and practical experiences that may improve nurses’ ability to provide care supporting dignity.

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