Story of the RCN's Dignity campaign
The RCN's Dignity campaign was launched on 25 June 2008. It was the result of considerable preparatory work with RCN members, practitioner groups, service user organisations, the voluntary sector and other stakeholder groups.
An online suvey of the nursing community's experience of providing care was conducted in February 2008. More than 98 per cent of respondents identified that the dignity of their patients and clients was important to them.
However, more than eight out of ten respondents reported always or sometimes feeling upset or distressed because they were unable to give the dignified care they knew they should.
The results of the RCN survey are published in a special report that is available to download:
- Defending dignity - challenges and opportunities for nursing (PDF 2.2MB) [See how to access PDF files].
The survey gave the RCN a valuable insight into our members' experiences of dignity in care, and key campaign objectives were formulated as a result.
The campaign sought to boost awareness of dignity as an issue for UK nursing staff in health and social care. It highlighted practitioners' firsthand experiences of championing dignity and shared practical ideas and learning materials to help nursing staff improve the quality of care for patients and clients. The campaign lobbied for changes in the culture and practice of health services that enable nursing staff to deliver dignified care to their patients and clients. It demonstrated that "dignity is, effectively, everybody's business and everyone can influence for dignity in care" (Royal College of Nursing 2009, p.2).
An evaluation of the campaign suggests that it was "supported and advanced by receptive and creative practitioners, supportive organisations and innovative teaching materials" (Baillie and Gallagher 2009, p.26). The study also found a "commitment to taking the 'small things' seriously to promote dignity in care", and that campaign activities "complimented and developed other dignity related initiatives" (Baillie and Gallagher 2009, p.26).
Baillie L, Gallagher A (2009) Evaluation of the Royal College of Nursing's 'Dignity: at the heart of everything we do' campaign: exploring challenges and enablers. Journal of Research in Nursing 15(1) January pp.15-28.
Royal College of Nursing (2009) Dignity: small changes make a big difference (2nd ed) (PDF 314.3KB). London: RCN.