Empathy in Action in Healthcare (EACH): A mixed methods study of nurses' and therapists’ empathy

Journal article


Catlow, R, Aikins-Snyper, F, Carson, M, Jaggi, A and Bench, S (2020). Empathy in Action in Healthcare (EACH): A mixed methods study of nurses' and therapists’ empathy. International Journal of Orthopaedic and Trauma Nursing.
AuthorsCatlow, R, Aikins-Snyper, F, Carson, M, Jaggi, A and Bench, S
Abstract

© 2020 Elsevier Ltd Background: Despite a plethora of research on empathy and its associated constructs, there is little evidence exploring clinicians’ perceptions of their empathy and its impact on service level outcomes. Methods: The aim of this single centre mixed methods study was to investigate nurses' and therapists’ empathy levels and explore their views regarding its impact on clinical decision making at a national specialist orthopaedic centre. Data were collected from 126 respondents using an online validated empathy scale (Jefferson scale) supplemented by interviews with a convenience sample of 20 respondents. Questionnaire data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Qualitative interview data were subjected to a standard process of inductive thematic analysis prior to seeking relationships between the two datasets. Results: There was a statistically significant difference in empathy levels between nurses and therapists (p = 0.031), with nurses scoring lower than therapists. Interview findings identified four key themes; displaying empathy, therapeutic use of self, influences and impacts, and learning. Differences between empathy scores and participants’ subjective accounts of empathy were apparent. Conclusion: Empathy is an important construct built upon personal and professional experiences. Previous research reports empathy as a positive tool, however, our data suggest that its inappropriate use might also have a negative impact on service delivery and health outcomes.

Year2020
JournalInternational Journal of Orthopaedic and Trauma Nursing
PublisherElsevier BV
ISSN1878-1241
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.ijotn.2020.100777
Publication dates
Online26 Mar 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted20 Mar 2020
Deposited09 Jun 2020
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
File Access Level
Open
Page range100777-100777
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