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(Wiseman 1996)

A concept analysis of empathy
Theresa Wiseman
Journal of Advanced Nursing 23,1162-1167

"A concept analysis of empathy The concept of empathy lies amid much confusion. This analysis addresses that confusion using Walker and Avant's model of concept analysis, and looks at what empathy is, is it trait or state, is it dynamic or static, and how is it recognized and measured' Implications of these findings are discussed, limitations of the study are acknowledged and areas for further work suggested"

 As the consensus is that empathy is a skill which is crucial to the helping relationship, many authors discuss methods of teaching empathy most effectively 
  • Layton 1979, 
  • Bumard 1987,
  • Cox 1989, 
  • Morath 1989 and 
  • Tshuldm 1989
  • Burnard (1987) suggests that before nurses can understand and explore a patient's perspective, they must explore their own perspective Self-awareness, therefore, is a prerequisite to empathy.  

Burnard identifies other skills necessary for empathy including the ability to
  •  listen, 
  • to offer free attention and
  •  to suspend judgement
 Tshuldm (1989) highlights
  •  self-awareness, 
  • communication skills, 
  • especially listening, 
  • perception of feelings with self and others and
  •  hidden feels, 
  • and not judgmg others
 The literature makes very little mention of the client's views on empathy Rogers (1957) states that being understood IS the most basic human need, and it is only by beingg understood and accepted that individuals are able to change and grow.

 Although there is literature to show that empathy affects the helping relationship, there is a lack of reference to the client's pointt of view Engledow (1987), a nurse, identifies empathy as being vital to her if she were a patient.  Many studies do not even use patient assessment of empathy. This is clearly a deficit in the literature which needs to be addressed."


 Layton J (1979) The use of modelling to teach empathy to nursing students Research m Nursing and Health 2, 1683-176

Burnard P (1987) Sharing a viewpoint Senior Nurse 7(3), 38-39

Cox B (1989) Drama m the arts lab building empathy skills The Australian Nurses Journal 9(1), 14-15

Morath J (1989) Empathy training Nursing Management 20(3), 60-63

 Tshuldm V (1989) Beyond Empathy Chapman and Hall, London

Rogers C (1957) The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic change Journal of Consulting Psychology 21, 95-103