RCN launches dignity campaign
Published: 25 June 2008
The Royal College of Nursing has launched a new campaign - Dignity: at the heart of everything we do at a conference at RCN headquarters in London today. The campaign will champion patient dignity by giving nurses practical tools to ensure compassionate care and challenge poor practice where it exists.
The conference, being attended by directors of nursing and senior nurses from across the UK, will also see the launch of Defending dignity: challenges and opportunities for nursing, a report based on a survey of over 2,000 RCN members. It highlights key concerns around dignity and makes a number of important recommendations.
The report notes nurses’ concerns about overcrowded and mixed sex hospital accommodation, and inadequate toilet facilities. In addition, nurses reported a lack of treatment rooms, day rooms or quiet areas where intimate procedures or confidential discussions can be conducted. The report shows that eight out of ten nurses had left work upset or distressed because they had not been able to give patients the dignified care. NHS targets were identified by many nurses as having the potential to undermine dignity. Whilst the creation of a performance-driven culture has led to some benefits for patients, many nurses were critical of organisations that prioritised targets over dignity and efficiency over quality of care. The report concludes that although nurses would like to make dignity a bigger priority they do not always have the time, resources or organisational support to do so.
Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN, says: “We know that nurses desperately want to give patients high quality dignified, compassionate care but that sometimes there are too many obstacles in their way".
“Dignity is not just a top priority for nurses. We know this is something that patients also feel passionately about. That’s why we have been working closely with patient groups, including the Patients Association and Help the Aged, and the government to ensure the public’s concerns about dignity are being addressed head on.”
New learning materials for the RCN’s online resource, The Learning Zone, are also being launched at the conference. The material will enable individuals to learn at their own pace and to reflect on their values and beliefs and how these might impact on care provision.
Today’s event also sees the launch of a set of principles about standards that patients can expect when attending Emergency Care departments. The principles have been developed by members of the RCN’s Emergency Care Association together with the Patients’ Association.
Further resources for nursing staff will be launched in the autumn, including a practice support pack which includes an interactive DVD, a practice influencing pack and a series of workshops.
For more information on the campaign, go to the RCN’s dignity website.
To read our press release, go to the RCN media centre: http://www.rcn.org.uk/newsevents/media
To find out more about the new RCN Learning Zone module, go to the Learning Zone.
The RCN’s Dignity - at the heart of everything we do campaign is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Smith & Nephew Healthcare Limited.