Undergraduate paramedic students' empathy levels: A two-year longitudinal study

Brett Williams, Malcolm Boyle, Jennie Tozer-Jones, Scott Devenish, Peter Hartley, Michael McCall, Paula McMullen, Graham Munro, Peter O'Meara


Empathetic healthcare attitudes in patient care have been credited with increasing patient compliance, facilitating greater prognostic accuracy, enhancing patient satisfaction, reducing patient stress levels, minimising the rate of medical errors and achieving optimal physiological results. However, whether paramedic students have empathetic attitudes is largely unknown.  Therefore, the objective of this study was to assess the extent of empathy in paramedic students over a two-year period from six Australian universities. This was a cross-sectional study employing a convenience sample of first, second, and third year undergraduate paramedic students during May 2011 and 2012. Student empathy levels were measured using the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy – Health Profession Students’ version (JSPE-HPS).  A total of 1,719 students participated in the study of which 57% (n = 979) were females.  The two-year overall JSPE-HPS mean was 105.92 ( SD = 12.85).  Females had greater mean JSPE-HPS empathy scores than males 107.45 v 103.86 (p < .0001, d = 0.28).  Interestingly, JSPE-HPS empathy scores did not decline as students progressed through their degree (p = .541).  Results from this two-year study provide the paramedic discipline with important empirical evidence in its attempt to better understand the complex construct of empathy.

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v5n1p58

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

Copyright © Sciedu Press 
To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the 'Sciedupress.com' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.