Empathy and specialty preference in medical students. Follow-up study and feedback
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Introduction: The evolution of empathy among medical students according to gender and specialty preference is explored using several validated scales. The value of our feedback to the medical students at the end of the study is also assessed. Materials and methods: A total of 151 students completed
the initial questionnaire, including the following scales: Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy (JSPE), Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), and Empathy Quotient (EQ). The final questionnaire was completed by 99 of them. Results: According to the EQ classification, it was found that 7.3% of students had low empathy, 49.7% average, 36.4% above average, and 6.6% very high. Empathy was higher among women in IRI-FS, IRI-EC, and EQ. Students who preferred people-oriented specialties score higher in JSPE and EQ. The IRI-Fantasy Scale was the only scale that shows increased scores on follow-up and in students with preference for people-oriented specialties. Discussion: This study shows that most of the medical students in our sample had a good level of empathy. Empathy was unchanged throughout the follow-up. Medical students had different profiles of empathy. In extreme profiles, feedback could offer advice in the process of choosing a specialty to best suit their empathic skills.
Is part ofEducación Médica, 2017, núm. 230, p. 1-9
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