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Empathy levels among first year Malaysian medical students: an observational study

Authors Williams B, Sadasivan S, Kadirvelu A, Olaussen A

Received 22 November 2013

Accepted for publication 18 March 2014

Published 16 May 2014 Volume 2014:5 Pages 149—156


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Brett Williams,1 Sivalal Sadasivan,2 Amudha Kadirvelu,2 Alexander Olaussen1

1Department of Community Emergency Health and Paramedic Practice, Melbourne, Australia; 2Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sunway Campus, Selangor, Malaysia

Background: The literature indicates that medical practitioners experience declining empathy levels in clinical practice. This highlights the need to educate medical students about empathy as an attribute early in the academic curriculum. The objective of this study was to evaluate year one students' self-reported empathy levels following a 2-hour empathy workshop at a large medical school in Malaysia.
Methods: Changes in empathy scores were examined using a paired repeated-measures t-test in this prospective before and after study.
Results: Analyzing the matched data, there was a statistically significant difference and moderate effect size between mean empathy scores before and 5 weeks after the workshop (112.08±10.67 versus 117.93±13.13, P<0.0001, d=0.48) using the Jefferson Scale Physician Empathy (Student Version).
Conclusion: The results of this observational study indicate improved mean self-reported empathy scores following an empathy workshop.

Keywords: empathy, medical students, Malaysia

A Letter to the Editor has been received and published for this paper.


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