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Empathy is related to clinical competence in medical care

Conference Paper


Abstract


  • Introduction

    When training clinically competent doctors, most medical schools focus upon components

    of the interpersonal process between doctor and patient, such as empathy in the doctorpatient

    relationship. This study investigated the relationship between empathy and clinical

    competence among medical students.

    Method

    Sixty students from an Australian Graduate School of Medicine participated in the study.

    Clinical competence was assessed in an Objective Structured Clinical Examination

    (OSCE). Empathy was rated by an independent observer of the clinical interaction in

    OSCE stations using the Rating Scales for the Assessment of Empathic Communication

    in Medical Interviews (REM). In addition, empathy was self-rated using the Jefferson

    Scale of Physician Empathy (student version).

    Results

    Observed empathic behaviour, as rated objectively by an independent observer, was

    strongly associated with clinical competence and was evident across diverse types of

    consultations and a wide range of medical conditions. Observable empathy was also

    strongly associated with patients' ratings of the students' clinical performance. However,

    self rated empathy was not associated with clinical competence.

    Discussion & Conclusion

    The results suggest that a doctor-patient relationship fostered by empathy appears to

    complement the skills and knowledge required to effectively care for a patient. Strategies

    that enhance the behavioural expression of empathy may make medical students seem

    more clinically competent to both examiners and to patients. However, evidence that

    the medical students' internal emotions are discrepant with their behaviour raises difficult

    questions regarding the fundamental nature of genuine empathy, with potential implications

    for the sustainability of the positive relationship between empathy and clinical competence.

UOW Authors


  •   Ogle, Jessica (external author)
  •   Bushnell, John (external author)
  •   Caputi, Peter

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Ogle, J., Bushnell, J. A. & Caputi, P. (2012). Empathy is related to clinical competence in medical care. Annual Conference of the Association for Health Professional Education (ANZAPHE) (pp. 148-148). New Zealand: ANZAHPE.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84880323653

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/medpapers/481

Has Global Citation Frequency


Start Page


  • 148

End Page


  • 148

Place Of Publication


  • New Zealand

Abstract


  • Introduction

    When training clinically competent doctors, most medical schools focus upon components

    of the interpersonal process between doctor and patient, such as empathy in the doctorpatient

    relationship. This study investigated the relationship between empathy and clinical

    competence among medical students.

    Method

    Sixty students from an Australian Graduate School of Medicine participated in the study.

    Clinical competence was assessed in an Objective Structured Clinical Examination

    (OSCE). Empathy was rated by an independent observer of the clinical interaction in

    OSCE stations using the Rating Scales for the Assessment of Empathic Communication

    in Medical Interviews (REM). In addition, empathy was self-rated using the Jefferson

    Scale of Physician Empathy (student version).

    Results

    Observed empathic behaviour, as rated objectively by an independent observer, was

    strongly associated with clinical competence and was evident across diverse types of

    consultations and a wide range of medical conditions. Observable empathy was also

    strongly associated with patients' ratings of the students' clinical performance. However,

    self rated empathy was not associated with clinical competence.

    Discussion & Conclusion

    The results suggest that a doctor-patient relationship fostered by empathy appears to

    complement the skills and knowledge required to effectively care for a patient. Strategies

    that enhance the behavioural expression of empathy may make medical students seem

    more clinically competent to both examiners and to patients. However, evidence that

    the medical students' internal emotions are discrepant with their behaviour raises difficult

    questions regarding the fundamental nature of genuine empathy, with potential implications

    for the sustainability of the positive relationship between empathy and clinical competence.

UOW Authors


  •   Ogle, Jessica (external author)
  •   Bushnell, John (external author)
  •   Caputi, Peter

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Ogle, J., Bushnell, J. A. & Caputi, P. (2012). Empathy is related to clinical competence in medical care. Annual Conference of the Association for Health Professional Education (ANZAPHE) (pp. 148-148). New Zealand: ANZAHPE.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84880323653

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/medpapers/481

Has Global Citation Frequency


Start Page


  • 148

End Page


  • 148

Place Of Publication


  • New Zealand