Aims. To determine whether a specific training course will enhance empathic skills in student nurses during a three year degree course. The study considers levels of empathy in student nurses and assesses whether these can be increased.Background. Empathy is widely accepted as a critical component of supportive relationships. Many scholars have argued that empathy provides health professionals with the capacity to improve the health of their patients. So it should be taught in order to make health professionals more responsive to patients needs.Design. Cohort longitudinal study.Method. The data were collected using the Italian version of the Balanced Emotional Empathy Scale (BEES). The study was designed to guarantee repeated measurements of levels of emotional empathy in the pre- and post-intervention phases. This allowed us to evaluate the development and improvement of empathy and to measure the effects of extra training on the students’ empathy skills. Two groups took part in the study: the Intervention Group and the Control Group. Students in the Intervention Group attended additional seminars and laboratories in small groups with tutors to learn and develop communicative and empathic abilities.Results. 103 participants (76% female) completed the study. Data showed that the training course was effective, especially for females: BEES scores 31.60 (SD 18.30) at pre-intervention phase and 42.91(SD 15.90) at the end of the academic course. Results regarding males were less clear and the paper discusses these unexpected, anomalous findings.Conclusion. According to literature, men and women have different empathic traits and we found that they show disparate empathic tendencies. More females than males took advantage of the training course. In any case, our data show that specific training courses are effective. Relevance to Clinical Practice. As our study shows, empathy is a skill that may be taught. So it would be advisable to introduce these into the traditional nursing curriculum.

Developing empathy in nursing students: a cohort longitudinal study

SARTORI, Riccardo;MENEGHINI, Anna Maria
2012

Abstract

Aims. To determine whether a specific training course will enhance empathic skills in student nurses during a three year degree course. The study considers levels of empathy in student nurses and assesses whether these can be increased.Background. Empathy is widely accepted as a critical component of supportive relationships. Many scholars have argued that empathy provides health professionals with the capacity to improve the health of their patients. So it should be taught in order to make health professionals more responsive to patients needs.Design. Cohort longitudinal study.Method. The data were collected using the Italian version of the Balanced Emotional Empathy Scale (BEES). The study was designed to guarantee repeated measurements of levels of emotional empathy in the pre- and post-intervention phases. This allowed us to evaluate the development and improvement of empathy and to measure the effects of extra training on the students’ empathy skills. Two groups took part in the study: the Intervention Group and the Control Group. Students in the Intervention Group attended additional seminars and laboratories in small groups with tutors to learn and develop communicative and empathic abilities.Results. 103 participants (76% female) completed the study. Data showed that the training course was effective, especially for females: BEES scores 31.60 (SD 18.30) at pre-intervention phase and 42.91(SD 15.90) at the end of the academic course. Results regarding males were less clear and the paper discusses these unexpected, anomalous findings.Conclusion. According to literature, men and women have different empathic traits and we found that they show disparate empathic tendencies. More females than males took advantage of the training course. In any case, our data show that specific training courses are effective. Relevance to Clinical Practice. As our study shows, empathy is a skill that may be taught. So it would be advisable to introduce these into the traditional nursing curriculum.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/420140
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