Empathy is 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 patients, so it should ideally be taught to make health professionals more responsive to patient needs (Hojat, Vergare, Maxwell et al. 2009; Ward, Schaar, Sullivan et al. 2009). For this reason many authors and professional organizations in the field of healthcare would like empathic skills to taken more into consideration (Hojat, Gonnella & Maxwell, 2009). Our study initiated from two beliefs: a) individual empathy skills are amenable to change and b) it is possible to enhance empathy during education in healthcare professions (Ozcan, Oflaz & Sutcu, 2010). Starting from these assumptions, we conducted a cohort longitudinal study, which aimed to determine whether specific training courses would enhance empathic skills in student nurses during a 3-year degree course (2007-2010). Data were collected using the Italian versions of the Balanced Emotional Empathy Scale (BEES) and the Jefferson Physician Empathy Scale (JPSE adapted for nursing students). Measurements of levels of emotional empathy (BEES) and levels of empathy within the student-patient relationships (JPSE) were taken and repeated at regular intervals during the academic course (at the beginning, T0; during the course, T1 and T2; at the end of the course, T3). 148 participants (77.6% women) completed the study and were divided into 3 groups: 1) "Intervention A" Group (N=62); 2) "Intervention B" Group (N=45); 3) Control Group (no specific empathy training course; N=41). The results showed that the specific training courses were effective, especially for emotional empathy in women (BEES T0=31,59 ; BEES T3=40,22; p < .001). We also found a significant difference between the Control Group and the two other groups (p < .05). On the contrary, levels of empathy in student/patient relationships fluctuated during the three years of assessment (JPSE T0=122,32; JPSE T1=117,78; JPSE T2=123,00; JPSE T3=120,31) but there were no significant differences between groups and between T0 and T3. To sum up, the specific training courses that were added to the standard academic course seem to increase emotional empathy (Cunico, Sartori, Maragnolli et al. 2012) but this does not apply to the student/patient relationship, which may require different training in terms of duration and context. The results will be discussed taking into account the amount and timing of the students’ clinical experience and the role of some important aspects such as cognitive mediation and emotion regulation, which are critical in order to create an empathic and supportive relationship with patients.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO IMPROVE EMPATHIC SKILLS IN NURSING STUDENTS DURING ACADEMIC TRAINING COURSES? A LONGITUDINAL STUDY

MENEGHINI, Anna Maria;CUNICO, Laura;SARTORI, Riccardo
2013

Abstract

Empathy is 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 patients, so it should ideally be taught to make health professionals more responsive to patient needs (Hojat, Vergare, Maxwell et al. 2009; Ward, Schaar, Sullivan et al. 2009). For this reason many authors and professional organizations in the field of healthcare would like empathic skills to taken more into consideration (Hojat, Gonnella & Maxwell, 2009). Our study initiated from two beliefs: a) individual empathy skills are amenable to change and b) it is possible to enhance empathy during education in healthcare professions (Ozcan, Oflaz & Sutcu, 2010). Starting from these assumptions, we conducted a cohort longitudinal study, which aimed to determine whether specific training courses would enhance empathic skills in student nurses during a 3-year degree course (2007-2010). Data were collected using the Italian versions of the Balanced Emotional Empathy Scale (BEES) and the Jefferson Physician Empathy Scale (JPSE adapted for nursing students). Measurements of levels of emotional empathy (BEES) and levels of empathy within the student-patient relationships (JPSE) were taken and repeated at regular intervals during the academic course (at the beginning, T0; during the course, T1 and T2; at the end of the course, T3). 148 participants (77.6% women) completed the study and were divided into 3 groups: 1) "Intervention A" Group (N=62); 2) "Intervention B" Group (N=45); 3) Control Group (no specific empathy training course; N=41). The results showed that the specific training courses were effective, especially for emotional empathy in women (BEES T0=31,59 ; BEES T3=40,22; p < .001). We also found a significant difference between the Control Group and the two other groups (p < .05). On the contrary, levels of empathy in student/patient relationships fluctuated during the three years of assessment (JPSE T0=122,32; JPSE T1=117,78; JPSE T2=123,00; JPSE T3=120,31) but there were no significant differences between groups and between T0 and T3. To sum up, the specific training courses that were added to the standard academic course seem to increase emotional empathy (Cunico, Sartori, Maragnolli et al. 2012) but this does not apply to the student/patient relationship, which may require different training in terms of duration and context. The results will be discussed taking into account the amount and timing of the students’ clinical experience and the role of some important aspects such as cognitive mediation and emotion regulation, which are critical in order to create an empathic and supportive relationship with patients.
9788567058009
emotional empathy; cohort longitudinal study; Balanced Emotional Empathy Scale; Jefferson Physician Empathy Scale; training courses
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/627155
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