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Med Teach. 2015 Aug;37(8):755-758. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2014.971722. Epub 2014 Oct 14.

Overlap between empathy, teamwork and integrative approach to patient care.

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a Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University , USA.
b Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine , USA.
c Foundation for Osteopathic Research , USA.
d The Cleveland Clinic , USA.



Empathy, teamwork and an integrative approach to patient care share common denominators such as interpersonal skills and understanding patients' concerns. Thus, a significant overlap among measures of empathy, teamwork and integrative approach to patient care is expected.


This study examined the magnitude of overlap (shared variance) among three measures of empathy, teamwork and an integrative approach to patient care.


Three-hundred seventy-three medical students completed the Jefferson Scale of Empathy (JSE), the Jefferson Scale of Attitudes toward Physician-Nurse Collaboration (JSAPNC) and Integrative Patient Care (IPC).


Significant overlaps were found among the three measures (p < 0.01), ranging from 13% (r = 0.36), between JSAPNC and IPC, to 18% (r = 0.42), between JSE and JSAPNC, and 30% (r = 0.55) between JSE and IPC for the total sample. Pattern of findings was similar for men and women. In a multiple regression model, a significant multiple correlation (R = 0.60, p < 0.01) was obtained in correlating scores on the JSE with the JSAPNC, and IPC scores, controlling for gender effect (men = 0 and women = 1).


The significant links between empathy, teamwork and IPC support the common denominator assumption. The findings that IPC shares common variance with empathy and teamwork have implications for medical education curriculum, suggesting that implementation of integrative patient care can improve empathic engagement in patient care and orientation toward teamwork.

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