Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Committee Chair

Gayle Casterline


The healthcare encounter is a setting in which a patient experience or customer service concern can occur. Patients who experience disrespect in this encounter may be less likely to use health care services that improve health outcomes. Emotional harm has been defined as, “something that affects a patient’s dignity by the failure to demonstrate adequate respect for the patient as a person. Emotional harm leaves the patient feeling violated, damages the patient-provider relationship and erodes trust”, (Sokol-Hessner, 2015, p. 551). Kaplan (2015) suggested that emotional harms experienced by patients can erode trust and damage patient-provider relationships. Such injuries can be severe and long lasting, with adverse effects on the impacted parties’ physical health. Failure to acknowledge and systematically address these harms ensure that they continue to occur within the healthcare system (Kaplan, 2015). While emotional harm is a new concept in healthcare, it likely has been experienced by patients, perpetrated by providers, and not recognized or addressed by healthcare organizations. Many healthcare providers are unaware that their actions or inactions can have lasting emotional effects on the patients they serve. The Disrespect as Harm Taskforce was created at the Medical Center to define the concept so that providers might recognize and prevent experiences leading to emotional harm and/or adequately address incidents of emotional harm to assure better patient outcomes. The goal of this DNP project was to develop a policy to prevent and alleviate emotional harm across the Medical Center.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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Nursing Commons