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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 38-40

Empathy in medical education: Can 'kindness' be taught, learned and assessed?

1 Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados
2 School of Medicine, American University of Integrative Sciences, Bridgetown, Barbados
3 Centre for Medical Sciences Education, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago

Correspondence Address:
Md Anwarul Azim Majumder
Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/AIHB.AIHB_14_20

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Empathy is considered a core element of professionalism in medicine in the era of patient-centred care. Physicians with higher levels of empathy have greater clinical competence and deliver improved physician empathetic communication resulting in better patient outcomes. Empathy contributes to patient compliance, patient enablement and clinical outcomes. Studies done across the world have pointed to a decline in the empathy levels among health professional students as they progress through undergraduate education and training. Medical curricula should provide ample opportunity for students to develop empathy and display-related attributes such as emotional intelligence and self-esteem. Curriculum reform in medicine is needed to enable mandatory training to teach and inculcate these attributes to help physicians have better patient interactions and ultimately improve the quality of care.

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