DOI: 10.2337/db23-534-p ISSN: 0012-1797

534-P: Evaluating the Impact of a Simulation Module on Empathy Development in Nursing Students

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Internal Medicine

Empathetic behaviors by nurses have been shown to improve both patient satisfaction and health outcomes. However, there has been a documented decline in empathy levels among the undergraduate population, including nursing students. For these reasons educators have sought ways to improve empathy development in nursing students. This quasi-experimental study used a pre/posttest design to evaluate the effectiveness of a simulation intervention using an expert patient (EP) with diabetes to enhance empathy in nursing students with the intention of providing a foundation in empathy development early in their nursing careers. The intervention included a prerecorded interview with an EP, a person who has diabetes for more than 30 years, presentation of five facts about diabetes and the importance of empathy, and a guided debriefing session regarding feelings for people with diabetes. The scripting for the interview was based on the Diabetes Distress Tool and reviewed by the expert panel. However, the answers provided by the EP were her own experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Batson’s Eight Components of Empathy, Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory, and Jeffries Simulation Theory provided a theoretical foundation for the study. Demographic data related to gender, race, age, work experience in healthcare, and closeness to a person with diabetes did not show any statistically significant influence on empathy development. But, there was a documented increase in levels of empathy as measured by the Comprehensive State Empathy Scale after the teaching intervention. The paired t-test reported a significant difference between the pretest total (M = 103.7; SD = 17.98) and posttest scores (M = 110.1; SD = 21.11) t(67) = 3.23, p = 0.001, with a small to medium effect size (d = .39 95% CI [2.46 - 10.44]). The core findings of this research contribute to the scholarship of nursing education and theory-based teaching interventions by validating a successful teaching strategy for enhancing empathy in nursing students.


G.L.Edstrom: None.

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