Student Empathy Levels Across 12 Medical and Health Professions: An Interventional Study
Evidence is emerging that clinician empathy improves clinical outcomes, but diminishes with experience. More empathetic clinicians get better results; but more experienced clinicians tend to show less empathy. These findings suggest both the importance and complexity of empathy in the clinical setting, and raise questions about how empathy can be fostered and maintained to improve clinical outcomes. Empathy is a difficult characteristic to define, teach and assess; the ‘nebulous’ properties of empathic behaviour often means that educators fail to incorporate the explicit teaching and assessment of empathy within the curriculum. One solution suggested is that teaching empathy in an interprofessional education setting is an effective educational approach in developing empathic behaviours. This project has shown that self-reported empathy levels have been shown to statistically improve following DVD simulation-based workshops.