Learning and unlearning dignity in care : experiential and experimental educational approaches

Kyle, Richard G. and Medford, Wayne and Blundell, Julie and Webster, Elaine and Munoz, Sarah-Anne and Macaden, Leah (2017) Learning and unlearning dignity in care : experiential and experimental educational approaches. Nurse Education in Practice, 25. pp. 50-56. ISSN 1471-5953 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2017.05.001)

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Guarding against loss of human dignity is fundamental to nursing practice. It is assumed in the existing literature that ‘dignity’ as a concept and ‘dignity in care’ as a practice is amenable to education. Building on this assumption, a range of experiential and experimental educational approaches have been used to enhance students' understanding of dignity. However, little is known about student nurses' views on whether dignity is amenable to education and, if so, which educational approaches would be welcomed. This mixed-methods study used an online questionnaire survey and focus groups to address these questions. Student nurses in Scotland completed online questionnaires (n = 111) and participated in focus groups (n = 35). Students concluded that education has transformative potential to encourage learning around the concept of dignity and practice of dignity in care but also believed that dignity could be unlearned through repeated negative practice exposures. Experiential and experimental educational approaches were welcomed by student nurses, including patient testimony, role-play, simulation, and empathy exercises to step into the lives of others. Nurse educators should further integrate experiential and experimental educational approaches into undergraduate and postgraduate nursing curricula to guard against the loss of learning around dignity students believed occurred over time.