Graduation Year


Publication Date

Spring 2015


Empathy is a central component in effective healthcare provider-patient relationships, yet evidence exists that healthcare professions students lack empathy. A cross-sectional survey was completed to identify whether a relationship exists between empathy levels in baccalaureate nursing, psychology, pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-physical therapy, and pre-occupational therapy majors who have or have not identified a projected specialty within their profession upon entry into practice, and compare these findings. A 28-item questionnaire was completed by a convenience sample of 202 students with declared majors in the healthcare professions of interest. There was no significant difference in empathy levels between students of all majors who had or who had not indicated a projected specialty, validating findings in previous research (Ward et aI., 2009). Empathy levels in nursing students with a projected specialty were significantly higher than those of students in all other majors with projected specialties. Gender and age significantly influenced empathy levels between students of all majors with a projected specialty. These findings expand the current understanding of empathy and what may influence empathy levels in students planning to enter healthcare. Suggestions for future research are described.



Included in

Nursing Commons