Psychometrics of the Student Version of the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy (JSPE-S) in Final-Year Medical Students in Johannesburg in 2008 (Report)

Psychometrics of the Student Version of the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy (JSPE-S) in Final-Year Medical Students in Johannesburg in 2008 (Report)

Empathy, while remaining an elusive concept, has recently gained a respected role in psychotherapy and medical interviewing. Empathy has been much discussed in the psychological literature of the early decades of the 20th century. (1,2) The therapeutic relationship between doctor and patient is an integral part of healing and effective medical care. (3) Empathy is intuitively an important consideration in medical practice and the care of patients. The concept of empathy, however, is elusive, theoretically and operationally. Empathy is commonly contrasted with sympathy, whereby empathy is said to refer more to a cognitive understanding of a patient’s situation and feelings, and sympathy is used to refer to a sharing and feeling of the patient’s emotions. According to Spiro (4) ‘it really doesn’t matter whether empathy is a thought or an emotion. Retaining or enhancing it in medical caregivers is worth doing and may be achieved through: (1) the selection of medical students and others who will care for the sick, (2) the training caretakers receive, and more fundamentally even, (3) reconsideration of what doctors do in a world so much changed and so diverse.’ Partly because of biotechnological developments and partly because of the changes in the healthcare system, it has been argued that in the contemporary system of medical education and patient care, insufficient attention is paid to human aspects of medical education and patient care. Given this universal trend, it is important and timely to study factors that contribute to improving interpersonal relationships in the context of medical education and patient care.

Psychometrics of the Student Version of the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy (JSPE-S) in Final-Year Medical Students in Johannesburg in 2008 (Report)

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