Pharmacy Practice Faculty Publications

Title

A Simulated Patient Experience to Improve Pharmacy Student Empathy for Patients on Hemodialysis

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-2020

Journal Title

Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning

Volume

12

Issue

7

First Page

827

Last Page

833

DOI

10.1016/J.CPTL.2020.02.018

Abstract

Introduction: The aim of this study was to increase student empathy towards hemodialysis patients through an educational intervention that simulates a hemodialysis patient experience. Methods: Second-year pharmacy students (n = 83) in a required therapeutic module were asked to follow key lifestyle modifications of a hemodialysis patient for two weeks. Students' selfperceived empathy level was assessed using the Kiersma-Chen Empathy Scale (KCES) pre- and post-intervention and post-reflection questions captured students' perceptions of the experience. Data were analyzed using frequencies and Wilcoxon signed ranks tests to assess pre-post changes. Reflection questions were assessed using a grounded analysis to identify themes. Results: Significant differences were found on 13 of 15 KCES items and KCES composite scores. Of the 13 significant KCES items, nine were related to the cognitive domain and four were related to the affective domain. When asked how the experience impacted the student personally, 38 responded that it provided them with a better understanding of the challenges associated with managing hemodialysis treatments. In response to how this experience would change their professional interactions with a hemodialysis patient, students explained that they felt more equipped to empathize with patients (n = 22). Conclusions: This intervention improved students' cognitive and affective empathy towards hemodialysis patients, which may prepare them to be more compassionate healthcare professionals. Experiencing first-hand some of the quality-of-life challenges hemodialysis patients face significantly influenced student empathy levels towards this population.

Keywords

Hemodialysis, pharmacy, students, empathy, understanding

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