Clinical Simulation Experiences in Nursing Schools: Senior Student Nurses' Empathetic Communication Ability
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Aims. This undergraduate research focuses on the modern use of simulation as an addition to clinical experiences in one Texas nursing school that mirrors many across the nation. The study looks at the empathetic capability scores of senior nursing students who have completed five semesters of course work with hospital and simulation lab hours embedded in courses.
Background. Empathy is defined as a cognitive attribute that involves understanding a patient’s experience at a given point in time. Research supports that due to its cognitive nature, empathy can be a learned skill and a major component of empathy is communication. Health care professionals exhibiting empathy toward their patients have better clinical outcomes (Hojat, Gonnella, & Maxwell, 2009). Nursing programs and accrediting agencies agree strategies that foster the development of empathetic capability in BSN students need to be implemented.
Design. Descriptive Research.
Methods. The Jefferson Scale of Empathic Communication Survey adapted for Health Professions Students (HPS Version) was placed into an online format. An e-mail letter of invitation to participate with an explanation of the study containing the consent, and survey link was sent out to a convenience sample of 85 graduating senior Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN) students at St. David’s School of Nursing, Texas State University.
Results. Twenty three students compiled the study sample and yielded an average empathy score of 112. The scores did not differ by age, prior degree, or previous healthcare experience. Gender differed with men scoring higher empathy scores than women.
Conclusion. Students graduating from Texas State University’s School of Nursing are leaving with a high capability for empathy. Further research is needed to determine the extent simulation or clinical hours have on the development of student empathy capabilities.