Empathy in graduate medical education milestones (Published 2015)
Apr 06, 2016
Nathan S Bertelsen, Louis Miller, Michelle DallaPiazza, Lisa Altshuler and Antoinette Schoenthaler
Competencies in both empathy and cross-cultural health care are considered essential skills for physicians. In this study a bedside learning activity was developed and piloted to define and teach empathy for residents to improve clinical skills in cross-cultural patient care.
Competencies in both empathy and cross-cultural health care are considered essential skills for physicians. A bedside learning activity was developed and piloted to define and teach empathy for residents, in order to improve clinical skills in cross-cultural patient care.
This activity was done on an inpatient medicine teaching service at Bellevue Hospital Center and New York University School of Medicine in New York City. Twenty-nine residents in internal medicine and thirteen faculty participated in one bedside session each. The objective of this exercise was to help the learner utilize empathy to: 1) gauge a patient’s identity and culture; 2) assess health literacy; and 3) change clinical management. Patients with communication barriers were interviewed with the BATHE technique (Stuart, Lieberman, 2008). All participants received anonymous surveys.
76% of participating residents agreed this activity improved their ability to provide cross-cultural care, 87% agreed it assessed their patient’s health literacy, and 87% agreed it changed their clinical management.
Empathy offers a promising bedside exercise in which to gauge health literacy and to demonstrate effective cross-cultural patient care. Based on this experience, an instructor’s guide was written for faculty, for use in training residents in empathy and cross-cultural patient care.
An interesting paper for those interested in teaching empathy, but I am unsure if it adds to our present understanding. Some very useful references on the subject.
I continue to worry about the high level of importance given to such a low level of evaluation and not discussing this in the paper.
Small scale study in a topical area. The key all interventions like this however is do they actually have any long term impact on improving the patient experience. I guess this is a start but I look forward to the next study addressing this issue