“Empathize with me, Doctor!” Medical Undergraduates Training Project: Development, Application, Six-months Follow-up

Vasileios N Kiosses, Athina Tatsioni, Ioannis DK Dimoliatis, Thomas Hyphantis


The aim of the study was to assess the effectiveness of specially designed, empathy training for medical undergraduates, based on the principles of Person-Centered Approach.

Within the context of the humanistic person-centered patient care, the experiential, 60-hour “Empathize with me, Doctor!” training program contains theory, personal development and skills development. Role plays, experiential exercises, self-awareness exercises, active listening practice and conduction of a person-centered interview constituted the training.

Forty-two medical undergraduates (66% females; 29% fourth year of study, 40% fifth, 31% sixth) from the University of Ioannina in Greece applied and all of them completed the empathy training. Forty-five medical students comprised a similar according to age and year of studies control group.

The Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy (JSPE) was used to assess the empathic performance, and Cohen’s d to assess the practical importance of any statistical difference.

The JSPE mean score (and standard deviation) before, after and six months follow-up was 109.3(12.7), 121.1(9.0), 121.1(9.5), respectively. The before–after and before–follow-up difference was highly significant (CI95%, p<0.001 in both cases), and of great practical importance (d=1.072, d=1.052, respectively), while no decrease was observed six-months later (CI 95%, p=0.999, d<0.001). Control group reached a JSPE 108.7(10.5), similar to intervention group before training (CI95%, p=0.832), and highly different and important compared to after (CI 95%p<0.001; d=1.268) and follow-up (CI 95%, p<0.001; d=1.238) intervention scores.

The “Empathize with me, Doctor!” improved significantly and importantly medical undergraduates’ empathic performance, which was maintained intact for at least six months.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/jets.v5i7.2418


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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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