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2017, Cilt 7, Sayı 3, Sayfa(lar) 651-656
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DOI: 10.5961/jhes.2017.241
Evaluation of Student Empathy Level During the First Five Years of Medical Education at Ankara University
İpek GÖNÜLLÜ1, Şengül ERDEN1, Derya GÖKMEN2
1Ankara Üniversitesi, Tıp Fakültesi, Tıp Eğitimi ve Bilişimi Anabilim Dalı, Ankara, Türkiye
2Ankara Üniversitesi, Tıp Fakültesi, Biyoistatistik Anabilim Dalı, Ankara, Türkiye
Keywords: Empathy, Undergraduate Medical Education, Medical Students, Communication Skills

Empathy is an important attribute in the physician-patient relationship and promotes patient and physician satisfaction. It must be taught and promoted during medical education. However, many of the studies about empathy show that empathy declines during medical school education as the year of study increases. The aim of this study was to measure and examine the levels of student empathy during medical education at Ankara University School of Medicine. Study participants were all medical students from the first to the fifth year of the program and the ‘Student Version (S-Version) of Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy’ ( JSPE-S) was used to measure the level of student empathy. The study utilized a cross-sectional design and sub-scale scores were analyzed in terms of gender and year of study. Mann- Whitney U test and Kruskal-Wallis variance analysis were used to compare the sub-scale scores in terms of gender and year, respectively. The results showed that the second year students` JSPE-S scores were significantly high for “perspective taking” and “compassionate care” whereas the third year students` JSPE-S scores were significantly low for the three sub-scales (p<0.001). Additionally, the scores of internship time decreased gradually as the year of study increased. Females’ JSPE-S scores were significantly higher for “perspective taking” and “compassionate care” (p<0.001). In this study, the students’ empathy levels were examined with a self-report scale. The results indicated that medical student empathy declines as the year of study gets higher. More studies are needed to determine whether the decline in empathy scores are due to cohort effects or to the changes occurring during medical education.

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