A body has called for nurses to be given more time and support to ensure each of their patients is treated with dignity.
It comes after 81% of nurses polled by the Royal College of Nursing said they had left work feeling distressed because they could not offer patients dignified care.
Obstacles including pressure on beds and staff shortages were among those nurses had to clear to provide good quality care.
The survey of more than 2,000 nurses found 86% wanted dignity to be made a higher priority in the workplace and more ingrained in their day-to-day jobs.
Almost two-thirds (65%) said they sometimes or never have enough time to ensure patients receive the kind of care they would like to provide.
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: "Dignity should not be an after thought or an optional extra.
"Each and every patient - whether they are in a hospital, a GP's surgery, in the community or in a care home - deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Dignity should be integral to nursing care."
The findings come after the Joint Committee on Human Rights condemned the "shameful" treatment of elderly people in hospitals and care homes last year.
And, in September, several NHS trusts were warned over failures to ensure older people are treated with dignity.