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What is empathy?
A first challenge of empathy and clinical empathy lies in the definition of empathy itself. Empathy is historically defined as “feeling into someone” and has been and still is studied by many disciplines, i.e., sociology, psychology, social psychology, education, (socio)-epidemiology, and neurosciences Verlinkung mit Publikation von mir. These studies resulted in various definitions, models, concepts and theories about what empathy is, can be, should be, should not be, will be etc. The following Figure gives a graphical summary on empathy’s nature including findings from most disciplines. Although this figure is certainly not complete, it will give you a feeling of how diverse empathy is and from how many perspectives and disciplines it can be viewed and investigated. The existence of so many perspectives on empathy and its intense discussion in research leads us to the assumption that each view or definition might contain something right, thereby contributing as a single “puzzle piece” to a comprehensive “picture” of empathy.
As you can see by the figure, empathy is such a multifaceted phenomenon that it leads us to the assumption that it is very likely that every individual has a personal view on it. That is, everybody has made individual empathic and non-empathic experiences in his/her life shaping a specific view on empathy which is at least action-leading.
Please let us know how YOU define empathy:… -> interactive user blog will be integrated here
What is clinical empathy?
The three basic pillars of empathy in the patient-provider relationship are, according to Mercer and Reynolds, to mit Quelle verlinken:(1) “...understand the patient’s situation, perspective and feelings (and their attached meanings), (2) communicate that understanding and check its accuracy, and (3) act on that understanding with the patient in a helpful (therapeutic) way.” This definition is in many ways shared by physicians who were asked in a recent study mit Quelle verlinken:
Translations of their view will be integrated Please let us know how YOU define clinical empathy:… -> interactive user blog will be integrated here
Why is empathy important for patients?
Clinician empathy – as described in Mercer’s and Reynold’s definition – is a particularly effective therapeutic element of patient-provider communication. Such or similar empathic behaviors may
lead to: Patients reporting more on their symptoms and concerns, Increased diagnostic accuracy, Patients’ receipt of more illness-specific information, Increased patient participation
and education, Increased patient compliance and satisfaction, Greater “patient enablement” (i.e., the patient’s ability to cope with prescribed treatment), Reduced emotional distress and
increased quality of life, Specifically for patients with the common cold, physician empathy is a significant predictor of the duration and severity of the illness and is associated with immune
system changes in immune cytokine IL-8. This could be shown in a randomized controlled trial. In patients with diabetes mellitus, physician empathy had a significant positive effect on
their metabolic status, indicated by hemoglobin A1c and LDL-C blood levels
These findings are in many ways observed by physicians who were asked in a recent study mit Quelle verlinken:Translations of their view will be integrated Please let us know why you think that find clinical empathy is important for patients:… -> interactive user blog will be integrated here
Why is empathy important for physicians and students?
Very easy! Physicians, students and all those who are working in the healthcare professions should care for empathy because patients benefit from it, emotionally and with improved health. It also
improves job satisfaction for physicians and prevents for burn-out – a genuine win-win-situation.Just imagine: You are explaining a certain disease to your patient. During the encounter, you
realize that your patient understands the implications of the disease for his or her behavior, e.g. how to adhere to a treatment regimen, and those “little” every-day things important for his or
her health, like regular exercise, eating more fruit and vegetables etc. And, even more, he or she feels seen, accepted as the person he or she is. You are glad that you could make “that
connection” with him or her. And in the following months, you even notice that his or her status gets continuously better. After a while you realize he or she sees you less and less, because
there is no need. Of course, this is a very idealized picture---however, scientific results indicate that the power of empathy might create scenarios with that trend.
Deep acting (Hochschild -> similar to empathy) is reducing burn-out! -> noch Themenblock einfügen
Please let us know how you as a healthcare provider or student benefit from being empathic to patients:… -> interactive user blog will be integrated here