Training: Papers‎ > ‎

(Fernandez-Olano 2008)

Title:  Impact of clinical interview training on the empathy level of medical students and medical residents

DOI or Website Link:  DOI: 10.1080/01421590701802299

Publication: Medical Teacher


Date:   2008

Affiliation(s):  University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain

Fernandez-Olano, C., Montoya-Fernandez, J., & Salinas-Sanchez, A. S. (2008). Impact of clinical interview training on the empathy level of medical students and medical residents. Medical Teacher, 30, 322–324.

Fernández-Olano C, Montoya-Fernández J, Salinas-Sánchez AS: Impact of clinical interview training on the empathy level of medical students and medical residents. Med Teach. 2008, 30: 322-324. 10.1080/01421590701802299.
Google Scholar
*  64. Fernández-Olano C, Montoya-Fernández J, Salinas-Sánchez AS. Impact of clinical interview training on the empathy level of medical students and medical residents. Med Teach. 2008;30:322–324


Abstract:   Cut and pasted: 

Background: Empathy is a skill that can be acquired by practise and should become a habit.

Aims: Assess the impact of a communication skills workshop on the empathy level of medical students and medical residents.

Methods: Quasi-experimental pre-test/post-test study. Empathy level was assessed in 203 subjects using the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy (JSPE), divided in two groups: one control group, and other experimental group that participated in an activity consisting of a 25-hour theoretical/practical workshop on communication and empathy.

Results: The mean pre-workshop JSPE score was similar in both groups. Post-workshop JSPE score increased 5.24 points (95 CI 3.82–7.09) (P50.0001) in the experimental group, improving in 68.9% of participants. No significant increase in JSPE score after the second assessment was observed in the controls. For this difference the estimated effect size was 0.78.

Conclusions: A communication skills workshop yields a slight improvement of crucial practice importance in subjects’ empathy.

Topic Area:
 (In which field / sector / perspective was this study conducted?)

(How was empathy defined?)
Empathy is the act or capacity to appreciate another person’s feeling without ‘joining them’ (Aring 1958, quoted by Hojat et al. 2001)."

(Were any benefits of empathy mentioned?)

Effective professionals. 

 (What were the methods used to train empathy?)
  •  Experimental subjects participated in a 25-hour (5-day) communication workshop led by three health care professionals with communication skill training. Each group contained 15 individuals. The workshop discussed general communication principles and good communicator skills (cordiality, respect, assertiveness, controlled reactions,precision, active listening, two-way communication and empathy) and had a theoretical part to present the skills and a practical part with exercises, analysis of video recordings, and role-playing. In addition, empathy was explained as the capacity to understand the thoughts, emotions, and behaviour of another, and students were shown how to convey it verbally and non-verbally. Exercises consisted of formulating empathetic phrases in different situations, and the non-verbal components of empathy.
Target Group:  
(Who participated in this study / training?)

203 subjects: 137 second-year medical students at the University of Castilla-La Mancha and 66 medical residents at the Family and Community Medicine Teaching Unit of Albacete, Spain.

About the assessment: How was the change in empathy measured before/after the intervention/method?) 

The study investigated the respondents’ empathy level as measured by the JSPE.

All participants answered the JSPE questionnaire without being told that the study was ending, with pre- and postworkshop evaluations not less than 7 days apart and not more than 20 days.

(What was the result?)
Our results uphold a significant increase in empathy level after the educational activity. A communication skills workshop yields a slight improvement of crucial practice importance in subjects’ empathy.

Posted By:  
 Dorothy Della Noce


(Any other relevant information)


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