Matiti, Milika Ruth and Trorey, Gillian (2004) Perceptual adjustment levels: patient's perception of their dignity in the hospital setting. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 41 (7). pp. 735-744. ISSN 0020-7489

Dignity is an important concept which lies at the heart of nursing. Despite the statements made by various international bodies, as a concept it remains complex and under researched. This is because it needs to be understood from the patient's point of view and experience.

This empirical study explores the concept in terms of the actual circumstances of patients in hospital. Through a large number of semi-structured interviews it reveals the relationship between ‘normal’ ideas of self-respect and self-esteem, and those experienced during the trauma of being ill and helpless, and the ways in which patients adjust to these circumstances.

Through the realisation of the importance of ‘necessary submission’ to the power of others, the evidence creates a concept of ‘perceptual adjustment level’ through which we can understand the importance of matching patient needs to nursing care. This has crucial relevance to nursing.

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