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Teach Learn Med. 2004 Spring;16(2):165-70.

Effect of gender, age, and relevant course work on attitudes toward empathy, patient spirituality, and physician wellness.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The emphasis in medical education on viewing the patient as a whole person addresses current concerns about the negative impact of standard physician training that may lead to impaired patient-physician relationships.

PURPOSES:

To assess self-ratings of empathy, spirituality, wellness, and tolerance in a sample of medical students and practitioners to explore differences by gender, age, and training.

METHODS:

A survey was created that assesses empathy, spirituality, wellness, and tolerance in the medical setting. Surveys were completed anonymously by medical students and practitioners from the medical school.

RESULTS:

The youngest groups scored highest on empathy and wellness and lowest on tolerance. Participation in medical school wellness sessions correlated with higher empathy and wellness scores; participation in both empathy and spirituality sessions correlated with higher empathy scores.

CONCLUSION:

Exposure to educational activities in empathy, philosophical values and meaning, and wellness during medical school may increase empathy and wellness in medical practice.

PMID:
15276893
DOI:
10.1207/s15328015tlm1602_8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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