Undergraduate paramedic students' empathy levels: A two-year longitudinal study

  • Williams B
  • Boyle M
  • Tozer-Jones J
 et al. 
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Abstract

Background Empathetic behaviour is widely regarded as being important in achieving positive outcomes for patients. Empathetic healthcare attitudes in patient care have been credited with increasing patient compliance, reducing patient stress levels, minimising the rate of medical errors and achieving optimal physiological results. However, whether paramedic students have positive empathetic attitudes is largely unknown. Therefore, the objective of this study was to assess the extent of empathy in paramedic students over a two-year period from six Australian universities Methods This was a cross-sectional study employing a convenience sample of first, second, and third year undergraduate paramedic students during May 2011 and 2012. Student empathy levels were measured using a standardised self-reporting instrument: Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy - Health Profession Students' version (JSPE-HPS) maximum score 140. Results A total of 1,793 students participated in the study of which 57% (n=979) were females. The majority of students were aged between 20-24 years 44% (n=757) and almost half the students 49% (n=856) were enrolled in first year. The two-year overall JSPE-HPS mean was 105.92 (SD=12.85). Females had greater mean JSPE-HPS empathy scores than males 107.45 v 103.86 (p

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Authors

  • Brett Williams

  • Malcolm Boyle

  • Jennie Tozer-Jones

  • Scott Devenish

  • Peter Hartley

  • Michael McCall

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