Threats to nurses' dignity and intent to leave the profession

Leila Valizadeh, Vahid Zamanzadeh, Hosein Habibzadeh, Leila Alilu, Mark Gillespie, Ali Shakibi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
263 Downloads (Pure)


Background: It is essential to pay attention to and respect the dignity of nurses to maintain them in their profession while they deliver skilled nursing care. Little is known, however, about how a sense of dignity influences the practitioner.

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to describe nurses’ experiences of threats to their dignity occurring within clinical settings, which generates an intention to leave clinical practice.

Research design and method: The study was performed using qualitative content analysis. The participants were 21 clinical nurses with work experience who were employed across a range of clinical posts. Data obtained from the semi-structured interviews were analyzed and interpreted using a content analysis approach.

Ethical considerations: The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences and was guided by the ethical principles of voluntary enrolment, anonymity, privacy, and confidentiality.

Findings: Within data analysis, three main themes and nine categories were extracted as follows:
(1) lack of professional pride (physician’s dominance, intangible nature of nursing, and negative attitude toward clinical nurses);
(2) oppressive work environment (high workload, disrespect, discrimination, and lack of support);
and (3) suppression of progressivism (lack of appreciation and attention to meritocracy).

Discussion: Almost all of the participants have experienced some degree of disrespect and violation of dignity. In general, attempts made by the participants to show their objection to the threats and to support and protect their dignity have not been effective and in fact made them more inclined to leave the clinical work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-531
Number of pages12
JournalNursing Ethics
Issue number4
Early online date29 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • content analysis
  • dignity
  • intention to leave
  • nurses
  • Qualitative Research


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