Empathy: have we got it and do we need it?

Increasingly research is exploring attributes other than clinical competence that paramedics may need in order to effectively manage the healthcare of their patients. One such quality is that of empathy. Empathy is defined in different ways, but in healthcare it is frequently associated with the ability of an individual practitioner to appreciate and contextualise the patient’s experience, feelings and circumstances while retaining a professional objectivity. There is little previous work on paramedic empathy so the aim of this cross-sectional study was to assess the extent of empathy in paramedic students from seven different universities in Australia.

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