Title page for ETD etd-04202010-154715

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Charnley, Deborah K.
Author's Email Address rjcharnley@aol.com
URN etd-04202010-154715
Title The Effect of a Planned Instructional Program on the Empathy Levels of Registered Nurses at a Metropolitan Hospital in Southern Louisiana
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Resource Education Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Burnett, Michael F. Committee Chair
Johnson, Earl C. Committee Member
Johnson, Geraldine H. Committee Member
Sylvester, Judith L. Committee Member
Verma, Satish Committee Member
  • learning
  • education
  • empathy. nurses
  • caring
Date of Defense 2010-04-19
Availability unrestricted
The professional nurseís role focuses on two distinct provisions of expert care involving the science and art of caring for patients. Nurses must attain and maintain a high level of scientific, clinical expertise. In addition, nurses must continuously seek to understand, relate to and connect with the patients with whom they work whether it is at the hospital bedside or in other arenas where healthcare services are provided.

The nurse plays a critical role in supporting patients through their most vulnerable times by empathizing and understanding where they are and where they want and need to be from a physiological and emotional health perspective. Empathy allows the nurse to better understand the unique challenges faced by patients and implement strategies to address their concerns.

The primary purpose of this study was to compare the level of empathy of registered nurses who received instruction on the development of effective empathy with nurses who did not receive this instruction at a hospital in a metropolitan area of Louisiana. The researcher reviewed the concept of empathy and outlined an approach to teach empathy to nurses with the goal of increasing nurse empathy levels.

This quasi-experimental study utilized a Solomon Four-Group-Like Design and incorporated empathy training and pre and post-training empathy measurements of participants. Empathy scores were measured utilizing the Mehrabian Balance Emotional Empathy Scale (1996).

Based on the findings, empathy scores did not increase following the participantís completion of the particular empathy training course provided during the study. Further exploration of strategies to teach empathy to nurses would enhance the nurse patient relationship and produce positive patient care outcomes.

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