Gender differences in the expression and cognition of empathy among nursing students

An educational assessment study

Yulia A. Strekalova, Sining Kong, Amanda Joy Kleinheksel, Adam Gerstenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: In the medical context, previous studies found that female care providers present more empathy with patients than their male counterparts. Yet, the explanatory mechanisms for such a difference are not fully explored. Purpose: Guided by the message design logics, this study looked to assess the differences in the expression of empathy by male and female nursing students. Methods: The data included transcripts of conversations between 343 undergraduate nursing students and a virtual patient. Results: Study hypothesis, which was supported, predicted that when presented with opportunities to express empathy female students will use such opportunities more frequently than male students. RQ1 assessed the level of empathic responses and showed no differences between male and female students. RQ2 focused on the cognitive models of empathy and showed that female students had more complex maps that included a larger number and levels of empathy-related concepts. Clinical relevance: While both male and female students could benefit from education and support in effective expression of empathy, tailored education could promote the recognition of opportunities to be empathic among male students. Clinical communication skill training programs should consider gender-sensitive interventions to support and promote male nurse empathy skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalNurse Education Today
Volume81
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

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Educational Measurement
Nursing Students
empathy
Cognition
cognition
gender-specific factors
nursing
Students
female student
student
Education
male nurse
Male Nurses
Clinical Competence
communication skills
training program
education
conversation
Communication
gender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Education

Cite this

Gender differences in the expression and cognition of empathy among nursing students : An educational assessment study. / Strekalova, Yulia A.; Kong, Sining; Kleinheksel, Amanda Joy; Gerstenfeld, Adam.

In: Nurse Education Today, Vol. 81, 01.10.2019, p. 1-6.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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