Caring With Dignity: A Q-Methodological Study of Staff Members’ Experiences in a Psychiatric Context
We undertook three independent, but related, Q-methodological studies on views of “dignity” from the perspectives of patients, relatives, and staff in the context of a hospital-based mental-health setting. This article discusses the results from the study among staff, focusing on their interpretation of the term dignity in patient encounters. The following research question was asked: “Based on your experiences, what does the term dignity mean to you when caring for patients in a psychiatric ward?” Based on theory and interviews, a Q sample of 51 statements was drawn from the concourse. Statements were sorted on a most agree to most disagree scale. Twenty-five staff members responded and post-interviews took place with all participants. Results were analyzed using the PQMethod program. Two different viewpoints emerged. In Viewpoint One, the focus is on the patient and on overarching values that promote an idea that we are all unique and equal individuals but also that, as humans, we are vulnerable. Viewpoint Two focuses on challenges staff face in maintaining patient dignity during patient encounters. An increased awareness of the opinions raised through both viewpoints may help increase understanding among staff, and thereby form the foundation for upholding patients’ dignity.