Medical Students’ Perspectives on Clinical Empathy Training

B Afghani, S Besimanto, A Amin, J Shapiro

Can empathy be taught and measured? Does empathy decline over the course of medical school? What are the barriers to training clinical empathy? The answers to these questions are unclear. What is clear, however, is that physician empathy significantly improves patient satisfaction and adherence to medical recommendations, and reduces medical-legal risks. Practicing empathy may be beneficial to physicians as well. Resident physicians with higher psychological well-being also have higher empathy scores, and it has been suggested that empathetic patient-doctor encounters can decrease physician distress and improve well-being and judgment.

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