Discovering dignity through experience: How nursing students discover the expression of dignity
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionNursing Ethics. 2021, . https://doi.org/10.1177/09697330211012042
Introduction: Dignity is a core value in nursing. Nursing education shall prepare students for ethical professional practice and facilitate insight into the phenomenon of dignity and its significance. There is limited knowledge about how nursing students discover dignity in their education. Research aim: The aim of the study is to develop an understanding of how nursing students discover and acquire dignity. Research design: The study has a hermeneutic approach where qualitative interviews of nursing students were employed. The process of interpretation was inspired by text of Fleming, Gaidys and Robbs. Participants and research context: Nineteen nursing students agreed to be included in the study, representing six different campuses at three different educational institutions. All were in the final year of their study. The interviews took place at the educational institutions. Ethical considerations: The educational institutions facilitated recruitment of the students who signed voluntarily for participation and continuous informed consent. The study was approved by The Norwegian Center of Reporting Data (NSD). The research recommendations of the Declaration of Helsinki were followed. Findings: The nursing students discovered the expression and significance of dignity through experiences, gained through introspection and in interaction with others during the education. Discussion: The findings are discussed using Gadamer’s concept of experience and how experiences can create new insight. In particular, the students’ experiences with the inner ethical and external aesthetic dimension of dignity are discussed. Conclusion: The study shows that students discovered the inner ethical dignity through experiencing vulnerability, pride and shame. They discovered the external aesthetic dignity through incidents, where they experienced both to be confirmed and not to be confirmed, and through observation of good or bad role models. Crucial negative and positive experiences are important for discovering the expression and significance of dignity.