Dignity in nursing: a synthesis review of concept analysis studies

Hugo Franco*, Sílvia Caldeira, Lucília Nunes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Nursing research using concept analysis plays a critical role for knowledge development, particularly when concerning to broad and foundational concepts for nursing practice, such as dignity. This study aimed to synthesize research concerning concept analysis of dignity in nursing care. Based on a literature review, electronic databases were searched (MEDLINE, CINAHL, COCHRANE, SCOPUS, EBSCOhost, and PubMed) using the terms “dignity,” “human dignity,” “concept analysis,” and nurs*. Papers in Portuguese or English were included. The research synthesis was conducted independently by two reviewers. A total of 35 citations were identified and seven papers were included. Six studies were elected using Walker and Avant concept analysis methodology while one applied the Beth Rodgers evolutionary model. The concept of dignity has been studied by nurses, and its attributes, antecedents, consequences, and similar concepts were synthesized into a definition. Dignity emerged as a fundamental concept in nursing ethics and the main attributes synthesized were personhood (intrinsic), sociability (relational/behavioral), respect, and autonomy. The antecedents identified were: facilitators—patient focus care, recognition (of the attributes of dignity), education, and ethical competence; threats—vulnerability and organizational environment. The consequences were positive coping, empowerment, and dignity preservation. The synthesis of these seven studies using concept analysis provided a clear definition of dignity. These findings challenge future research and education, particularly for the study of undergraduate and postgraduate nursing education programs to enhance skills for preserving patient dignity in clinical practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)734-749
Number of pages16
JournalNursing Ethics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Concept analysis
  • Dignity in nursing
  • Human dignity
  • Literature review


Dive into the research topics of 'Dignity in nursing: a synthesis review of concept analysis studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this