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ERIC Number: ED567999
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 153
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3395-2289-0
Community College Healthcare Students' Conceptions of Empathy: A Program-Wide Mixed Methods Case Study
Fields, Kellee M.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Cincinnati
Community colleges play a vital role in the education of our Nations healthcare professions. In order to respond to the rising economic and social needs of the healthcare sector, community colleges are meeting the challenge by providing health professions skills and training programs to meet these shortages. These crucial programs are charged with educating a diverse group of students which reflect upon the large scale demographic population changes in society. Patients and employers in recent years have voiced their concerns about the role of healthcare providers as they note a decline in essential professionalism traits and behaviors. In particular, the healthcare professional should espouse the ethical value of empathy as it is extremely beneficial to all stakeholders. This study explored students conceptions of empathy to provide information about the timing and effectiveness of potential strategies to develop this desired professionalism skill. A mixed methods case study design was used in which a quantitative survey measuring students empathy for their patients was embedded in a primarily qualitative case study which interviewed three groups of students (first-year, second-year, and graduates) in a Respiratory Care Program at a community college. The qualitative interviews revealed empathy was developed through the curricular aspects of role modeling, case study, and clinical experiences. As the students progressed through the program, a contextualization of empathy in practice occurred. In addition, empathy was present and sustained throughout the program as demonstrated by the empathy scale. In summary, the students exhibited empathy toward their patients and associated its valued meaning in the profession. The study findings may have broad implications for healthcare programs regarding curriculum design and strategies, instructors, and students. In addition, this study may also contribute to the vast changes taking place within our Nations healthcare system by affecting the way healthcare professionals are educated. Ultimately, these findings hopefully may contribute to fostering the professional behavior of empathy among healthcare practitioners in order to improve patient care. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A