Teaching medical students to express empathy by exploring patient emotions and experiences in standardized medical encounters.
Author: Ruiz Moral, Roger; Pérula de Torres, Luis A.; Monge Martín, Diana; García de Leonardo Mena, Cristina; Caballero Martínez, Fernando
Abstract: OBJECTIVES: To increase medical students’ ability to detect contextual and emotional cues and to respond empathetically to patients. METHODS: a training course in communication skills and patient-centered care with different teaching activities (didactic, reflective and interactive: workshops and encounters with simulated patients) was delivered to third-year medical students just before their clerckships. The program was evaluated by an external observer (OE) and simulated patients (SP) in 2 or 3 videotaped encounters. RESULTS: Students improved significantly from baseline to 3rd interview in all communicative skills and domains explored both in OE (32.4%) and SP (38.3%) measurement. At the end of the course students detected significantly more clues and made more empathetic expressions. CONCLUSIONS: The course seems to improve the ability of students to explore the illness experience, showing more empathy in a more genuine way. This was carried out in consultations lasting 10 minutes. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: The program is effective and feasible to be applied as a regular formative activity. Further research is needed to assess whether this training program is applicable to students in more advanced educational levels and if it has any additional outcomes.
Universal identifier: http://hdl.handle.net/10641/1341
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