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


Williams, B and Boyle, M and Tozer-Jones, J and Devenish, S and Hartley, P and McCall, M and McMullen, PM and Munro, G and O'Meara, P, Undergraduate paramedic students' empathy levels: A two-year longitudinal study, Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 5, (1) pp. 1-7. ISSN 1925-4059 (2014) [Professional, Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.5430/jnep.v5n1p58


Empathetic healthcare attitudes in patient care have been credited with increasing patient compliance, facilitating greater prognostic accuracy, enhancing patient satisfaction, reducing patient stress levels, minimising the rate of medical errors and achieving optimal physiological results. However, whether paramedic students have 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. 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 the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy – Health Profession Students’ version (JSPE-HPS). A total of 1,719 students participated in the study of which 57% (n = 979) were females. 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 < .0001, d = 0.28). Interestingly, JSPE-HPS empathy scores did not decline as students progressed through their degree (p = .541). Results from this two-year study provide the paramedic discipline with important empirical evidence in its attempt to better understand the complex construct of empathy.

Item Details

Item Type:Professional, Refereed Article
Keywords:Allied health personnel, Curriculum, Empathy, Paramedics, Paramedic students, Undergraduate
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Medicine, nursing and health curriculum and pedagogy
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Evaluation of health and support services
Objective Field:Evaluation of health outcomes
UTAS Author:McMullen, PM (Dr Paula McMullen)
ID Code:96233
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2014-10-28
Last Modified:2014-10-28

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