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BMC Medical Education

, 17:108

Assessment and evaluation of admissions, knowledge, skills and attitudes


BackgroundThe cultivation of empathy for healthcare providers is an important issue in medical education. Narrative medicine NM has been shown to foster empathy. To our knowledge, there has been no research that examines whether a NM programme affects multi-professional healthcare providers’ empathy. Our study aims to fill this gap by investigating whether a NM programme effects multi-professional healthcare providers’ empathy.

MethodsA pre-post questionnaire method was used.142 participants n = 122 females who attended the NM programme were divided into single n = 58 and team groups n = 84 on the basis of inter-professional education during a period of 2 months. Perceptions of the NM programme were collected using our developed questionnaire. Empathy levels were measured using the Chinese version of Jefferson Scale of Empathy - Healthcare Providers Version JSE-HP – at three time points: prior to Time 1, immediately after T2, and 1.5 years T3 after the programme.

ResultsParticipants’ perceptions about the NM programme n = 116; n = 96 females suggested an in enhancement of empathy 90.5%. Empathy scores via the JSE-HP increased after the NM programme T1 mean 111.05, T2 mean 116.19 and were sustainable for 1.5 years T3 mean 116.04 for all participants F2297 = 3.74, p < .025. A main effect of gender on empathy scores was found F1298 = 5.33, p < .022. No significant effect of gender over time was found but there was a trend that showed females increasing empathy scores at T2, sustaining at T3, but males demonstrating a slow rise in empathy scores over time.

ConclusionsNM programme as an educational tool for empathy is feasible. However, further research is needed to examine gender difference as it might be that males and females respond differently to a NM programme intervention.

KeywordsNarrative medicine Empathy Educational programme Gender AbbreviationHPHealthcare providers

IRBInstitutional Review Board

JSEThe Jefferson Scale of Empathy

NMNarrative medicine

SEMStandard error of mean

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12909-017-0952-x contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Po-Jui Chen - Chien-Da Huang - San-Jou Yeh


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