Meaning of Courtesy and Respect: Nurse and Patient Experiences.

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Journal of nursing care quality


BACKGROUND: Treating patients with courtesy and respect has quality, ethical, and fiscal ramifications.

PURPOSE: This qualitative study revealed meanings of nurse courtesy and respect as imbedded in nurse and patient stories.

METHODS: Audio-recorded interviews were collected from 15 registered nurses and 17 patients on a medical-surgical unit in a 377-bed, nonprofit, Magnet-recognized facility.

RESULTS: Six themes related to courtesy and respect emerged during descriptive content analysis by 2 researchers: (1) being attentive (with subthemes taking time, physical care, and proactive engagement); (2) giving empathetic support; (3) honoring culture and beliefs; (4) recognizing the family; (5) recognizing patient space; and (6) recognizing personhood (with subthemes of showing ordinary politeness and recognizing the individual and honoring choices).

CONCLUSIONS: Informants' stories contributed toward a better understanding of what it means to treat patients with courtesy and respect; and they created context for interpreting HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) numerical results. Further research is warranted.