Relationship between level of empathy during residency training and perception of professionalism climate

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Health Professions Education (MPHE)


Educational Development


Empathy is crucial in the physician—patient relationship. Prior studies have proposed that physician empathy may decline in clinical phase of training. Unprofessional learning environment has been attributed as an important contributor to this decline of empathy. This a major concern for medical educators globally. In this correlational study we have looked at the relationship between the empathy level and the perception of climate of professionalism during residency, by administering two self eamdmpaitnhiyst. ered Internet based surveys to asses professionalism in learning environment and the level of Method: The study was a correlational study and included residents of women and child health division. They were surveyed using the web based Jefferson scale of physician empathy and the validated professionalism scale "climate of professionalism ". Paired data for each respondent was analyzed for descriptors of empathy and professionalism and spearman rank analysis was performed to correlate the scores of both instruments. Results: The overall response rate was 81.4%. The mean empathy level was 103+ 13in this resident population. The Cronbach's Alpha was 0.76 for JSPE scale, while for PCI instrument it was 0.65. There was female preponderance in the respondents i.e., 81.4%. The difference in mean empathy scores between senior and junior residents in both specialties was not statistically significant. On the .o0t1her hand female and male residents have statistically significant different mean empathy scores. (p = 2(95%Cl, 2.27to 17.59). The mean PCI score was 106+8.88 and no significant difference was found in the mean scores of both specialties. There was no effect of year of residency or gender on professionalism score either. Correlation of Empathy score with professionalism climate score was also not found significant (rs = .056, p .64). Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that empathy is a relatively stable trait in this selected sample of residents with female residents being more empathetic then male trainees. Climate of professionalism does not come out as a reliable predictor of empathy level in these residents.

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