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title:Walking a Mile in Patients’ Moccasins: Measuring Empathy Among Indian Medical Students

Author:Ashok K Srivastava, Kritika Tiwari, Shaili Vyas, Deep Shikha, Sunil D Kandpal, Jayanti Semwal

Keywords:Empathy, undergraduate medical students, Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy-Student Version (JSPE-S), clinical experience, future specialty plans

Type:Original Article

Abstract:Introduction: Empathy is the ability to understand others’ experiences and emotional states from their perspective. It is considered as a part and parcel of healthy doctor-patient relationship. The assessment of empathy among undergraduate medical students is an important step towards yielding a better fruitage from medical education in the form of empathetic doctors. Objectives of the study were to assess the empathy level and its determinants among undergraduate medical students. Methodology: This study was conducted among 351 undergraduate medical students studying at Dehradun by using the “Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy-Student Version (JSPE-S)” and analyzed by SPSS-22. Results: The arithmetic mean (±SD) of empathy scores was 98.89±12.9. Compared with male students, empathy scores were significantly higher in female students (p<0.05 by Independent sample t test). One way ANOVA followed by Post Hoc test revealed a peculiar finding that empathy is more on initial clinical exposure but decreases as the clinical experience increases. The variation in empathy scores according to the future specialty plans was inconclusive. Conclusion: This study showed a slightly low mean empathy score as compared to similar studies. Gender and clinical experience were found to be associated with empathy. Further studies are recommended to explore other determinants of empathy.

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