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Wündrich, M.; Schwartz, C.; Feige, B.; Lemper, D.; Nissen, C.; Voderholzer, U. (2017): Empathy training in medical students - a randomized controlled trial. In: Medical Teacher, Vol. 39, No. 10: pp. 1096-1098
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Aim: Empathy is a core element in the doctor-patient relationship. This study examined whether empathy in medical students can be improved by specific training.Methods: 158 medical students were randomized into two groups. The intervention group participated in an empathy skills training with simulated patients (SPs). The control group participated in a history course. After the intervention, empathy was assessed by blinded SPs and experts in an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). Students also filled out a self-assessment concerning their attitude on empathy (Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy Student Version, JSPE-S-S).Results and Conclusions: Participants of the intervention group showed significantly higher levels of empathy when rated by SPs and experts than the control group. In contrast to that, no significant group differences were observed in self-rated empathy. The results underpin the value of empathy skills trainings in medical school study programs.