Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine 2015. 8(0):.

Patients’ lived experiences regarding maintaining dignity
MohammadAli Cheraghi, Arpi Manookian, Alireza Nikbakht-Nasrabadi


Preservation of dignity is frequently emphasized as a basic patient’s right in national and international nursing codes of ethics

and is indeed the essence and core of nursing care. It is therefore essential to explore the concept based on patients’ lived

experiences in order to maintain and respect their dignity and consequently improve the quality of health services and patient

satisfaction. The present study aimed to discover the lived experiences of Iranian patients regarding maintaining their dignity at

the bedside.

This qualitative study was conducted using an interpretive phenomenological approach. A total of 14 participants (9 women and

5 men) were purposefully selected, and data were collected through individual, semi-structured and deep interviews. The

recorded interviews were transcribed and analyzed by the Diekelman, Allen and Tanner approach.

The findings of this study revealed three main themes and related subthemes regarding the meaning of preserving patients’

dignity. The first main theme was “exigency of preserving the innate human dignity” and comprised two subthemes: “respect

for the intrinsic equality of all humans” and “treating the patient as a valued person, not an object”. The second theme was

“service based on love and kindness” and included two subthemes: ‘being with the patient” and “inspiring the sense of being

accepted and loved”. The third main theme emerged as “dignifying and transcendental professional service” and consisted of

two subthemes: “professional commitment to uphold patients’ rights” and “enlightened practice”.

This study revealed that the concept of maintaining patients’ dignity is related to health providers’ duty to preserve patients’

dignity and also their moral obligation to manifest the human love that is in their own as well as their patients’ nature. In

conclusion, if nurses reflect on the transcendental nature of nursing care, they will value and prize their everyday bedside

nursing practice and will utilize their capacities to be more human as well.


human dignity, patient rights, qualitative research, hermeneutics, nursing ethics

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License which allows users to read, copy, distribute and make derivative works for non-commercial purposes from the material, as long as the author of the original work is cited properly.