Developing professionals who are perceptive to the needs of patients and can respond by expressing empathetic behavior is one of the aims of health care education. The aim of this study was to explore the level of empathy in health care students through a mixed method. The quantitative approach included the use of the Jefferson Scale of Empathy and the qualitative a focus group approach to further deepen into the descriptive results. 869 health care students (RR=81%) participated in the study and the level of empathy ranged from 42 to 139 with a mean score of 100.6 (20-140 scale). Significant statistical differences were found between the disciplines (F=8.6, p-value<0.001) and gender (p-value<0.001) with nursing students and women scoring the higher levels. Two focus groups of ten participants each were conducted with 3rd and 4th year nursing students. Four themes were derived from the analysis of these data a) empathy as an imperative component of care b) contact with the clinical reality c) the influence of family and choice of studies d) gender stereotypes. There is a lack of mixed methodologies in the empathy research and this study provided the opportunity of a better understanding of the health care students’ views.
- Health care students
- Mixed methods