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The RCN's dignity survey

Underpinning the thinking behind the RCN's work on dignity was a survey, which took place over a three-week period from February 2008. Attracting more than 2,000 participants, the study explored the attitudes and experiences of RCN members about this crucial aspect of care.

Amongst the survey's significant findings are:

  • more than eight out of 10 respondents say they always or sometimes feel upset or distressed because they are unable to give the dignified care they know they should
  • 65 per cent say they sometimes or never have enough time to devote to the dignity of their patients or clients 
  • meanwhile more than 98 per cent say that the dignity of their patients and clients is important to them. 

Respondents cite several issues that prevent dignified care being given. Looking at the physical environment, these include:

  • overcrowded wards
  • the layout of the clinical area
  • the curtains around beds
  • noisy and disruptive environments
  • mixed sex wards.

Organisationally, these include:

  • resources and staffing levels
  • overwhelming paperwork
  • targets and statistics
  • a lack of leadership on this issue.

The results of the RCN survey are published in a special report that is available to download