Non-academic factors influencing the development of empathy in undergraduate nursing students: a cross-sectional study
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Nursing studentsEmpathyLonelinessPersonality developmentSex characteristicsUniversities
Berduzco-Torres, N... [et al.]. Non-academic factors influencing the development of empathy in undergraduate nursing students: a cross-sectional study. BMC Nurs 20, 245 (2021). [https://doi.org/10.1186/s12912-021-00773-2]
SponsorshipNational Council of Science, Technology and Technological Innovation (CONCYTEC); National University San Antonio Abad del Cusco (UNSAAC) E041-2017UNSAAC-02; Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII) PI16/01934; Operational Program of the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER-LARIOJA) 6FRS-ABC-012
Background: Empathy is described as a core competence of nursing. There is abundant research evidence supporting that empathy varies according to personal characteristics and targeted training. The aim of this study was to characterize non-academic factors (personal and environmental) influencing the development of empathy in undergraduate nursing studies who are not receiving a targeted training in empathetic abilities in their nursing schools. Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed in the three nursing schools located in Cusco city, Peru (two private and one public). The Jefferson Scales of Empathy, Attitudes toward Physician-Nurse Collaboration, and Lifelong Learning, the Emotional Loneliness Scale for Adults, and the Scale of Life Satisfaction, were applied as the main measures. Also, information regarding gender, nursing school, and age, were collected. After psychometric properties were assessed, all measures were used in the development of a multivariate regression model to characterize factors of influence in empathy. Results: In a sample composed by 700 undergraduate nursing students (72 males and 628 females), a multivariate linear regression model was created. This model explained the 53% of variance of empathy and fitted all conditions necessary for inference estimations. Teamwork abilities, loneliness, age, sex, subjective well-being, and nursing school, appeared as factors influencing the development of empathy in patients’ care. Conclusions: Findings have indicated that, in absence of a targeted training, individual characteristics and characteristics associated with social and family environments play an important role of influence in the development of empathy in nursing students. These findings are also in consonance with others previously reported in different cultural settings including high-, middle- and low-income countries.