Medical students' perspective towards empathy: current discourse and way forward

Medical students' perspective towards empathy: current discourse and way forward

26 Mar 2019 15:00 15:20

26-March-2019 / Tuesday / 15:00 - 15:20


Empathy can help to build good doctor patient relationship and important in managing patients. This study are looking into medical students explicit discourses about empathy. 316 sets of questionnaire from Jefferson Scale of Empathy (student version) are distributed to measure level of empathy. Where as, 11 medical students had been chosen by convenience sampling for focus group interview. Descriptive analysis used to analyze the data in SPSS Version 23.0 and Krueger’s framework analysis was used to analyze data from focus group interview. Based on questionnaire, medical students have moderately understanding about definition of empathy. They also have moderately understanding on approach to develop empathy wheres the factors to develop empathy are also moderately understood by medical students but at the lower point. The findings is supported by the findings from focus group interview where medical students capable to define empathy. Unfortunately they not able to relate how they develop empathy rather than through academic experiences and social experiences. As a conclusion, medical students able to define empathy but they fail to explain more about factors and approaches that can develop empathy. The findings is significant in guiding medical school in developing empathy in their students for future practice.

Empathy is very important in acting as medical professional, in giving best services to the patients. Thus understanding and developing good understanding and practice of professionalism are very crucial. At the end of the presentation, participant will be able to

  1. identify current medical students discourses regarding empathy
  2. assess what and how medical students define empathy
  3. understand factors that develop empathy in medical students
  4. get an idea the approaches that guide medical students in developing empathy and subsequently use in their practice


Dr Indang Ariati Ariffin
Associate Professor,
International Medical School,
Management and Science University,

Dr Indang Ariati obtained her PhD in Medical Education. Has been in education industry for 15 years. Her interest are in student development, staff development and education in different cultural context