Reflections of nursing students on the care of the person's dignity at the end of life: a qualitative study

Ximena Farfán-Zúñiga*, Paula Jaman-Mewes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The education of nursing students not only implies transmitting knowledge and clinical skills, but also values, attitudes, and behaviours. In healthcare, it is considered essential to respect and preserve the dignity of people. This is even more important in palliative care, where the fragility of people makes them potentially vulnerable. There is limited knowledge regarding the conceptualization and experience of nursing students and human dignity in palliative care. Aim: To describe how 5th-year nursing students conceptualise and experience human dignity, while caring for people with terminal illness. Design: Qualitative descriptive design, with thematic content analysis as per Graneheim and Lundman. Setting: A palliative care centre for people on low incomes with terminal illnesses which no longer respond to curative treatments. Participants: A total of 11 fifth-year nursing students who completed their professional practice in a palliative care unit. Methods: Data collection was conducted through guided online reflections via reflective journaling between April and November 2020. The study protocol was reviewed and approved by the Scientific Ethical Committee within the educational institution (CEC2021065). Results: Four thematic categories were identified (1) Concept of dignity; (2) Dignity: an essential element in the relationship with others, (3) Instances when the dignity of the person is not considered; (4) The value of reflection on dignity in clinical practice. Conclusion: Dignity is one of the main values recognized in the person. Dignity should be promoted in the education of future nursing professionals, particularly with people who are in the final stage of life, where fragility and vulnerability it is more palpable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106067
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalNurse Education Today
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Content analysis
  • Dignity
  • Experiences
  • Nursing students
  • Palliative care
  • Qualitative


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