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Dignity in situations of ethical difficulty in intensive care.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5994-4012
1997 (English)In: Intensive & Critical Care Nursing, ISSN 0964-3397, E-ISSN 1532-4036, Vol. 13, no 3, 135-44 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In intensive care, situations of ethical difficulty are common. For the purpose of illuminating the meaning of being in ethically difficult situations, 20 registered nurses (RNs) employed in six intensive care units in Sweden narrated episodes of ethical difficulty. From a phenomenological hermeneutic perspective, the core theme of 'dignity' was identified in 85 stories. Stories with the concept of dignity reveal a threefold meaning; transforming disrespect into respect for the inviolable value of the human being; transforming ugly situations into beautiful ones; transforming discord of death into togetherness. Stories without the concept of dignity were oriented toward skills and physical care without reflection on actions and a 'taken-for-granted attitude' that good will prevail. Comparing and contrasting stories with and without dignity revealed the demands of dignity: attentiveness, awareness, personal responsibility, engagement, fraternity and active defence of dignity. In light of the philosophies of Weil, Marcel and Ricoeur, the demands of dignity correspond to qualities generated when struggling for respecting the dignity of human beings. This study reveals that dignity begets dignity, which opens the RNs to the ethical dimension. This, in turn, counteracts the risk of dehumanizing care in technocratic environments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1997. Vol. 13, no 3, 135-44 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-71279PubMedID: 9287575OAI: diva2:623067
Available from: 2013-05-24 Created: 2013-05-24 Last updated: 2016-02-01

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