Empathy Levels of Dental Undergraduate Towards Their Patients During Practice – A Cross-Sectional Study

  • Atiq Ur Rehman Assistant Professor, Department of Prosthodontics, CMH Lahore Medical College & Institute of Dentistry, NUMS Rawalpindi, Pakistan
  • Niaz Muhammad Senior Lecturer, Department of Community Medicine NUST School of Health Sciences, NUST, Islamabad Pakistan
  • Muhammad Afzal Associate Professor, Department of Prosthodontics, CMH Lahore Medical College & Institute of Dentistry, NUMS Rawalpindi, Pakistan
  • Ali Anwaar Associate Professor, Department of Community & Preventive Dentistry, CMH Lahore Medical College & Institute of Dentistry, NUMS Rawalpindi, Pakistan
  • Fareed Ahmad Associate Professor, Department of Oral Medicine, CMH Lahore Medical College & Institute of Dentistry, NUMS Rawalpindi, Pakistan
  • Adeel Ijaz Rana Consultant Dental Surgeon, 52-B, Johar Town Lahore Pakistan
Keywords: Communication skills, Dental practice, Dental undergraduates, Empathy levels, Student-patient relationship

Abstract

Background: Empathy in dental practice is pivotal for establishing trust, enhancing patient satisfaction, and promoting overall well-being. Objective: To assess the empathy levels of dental undergraduate towards their patients during practice. Study Design: Cross sectional study. Settings: Department of Prosthodontics, CMH Lahore Medical College. Duration: From December 2022 to May 2023. Methods: Total 225 dental undergraduates currently enrolled in a dental program and students those actively engaged in clinical practice or patient interactions during the study period were included in this study. Patients with a history of behavioral or mental health conditions that may significantly impact empathy levels were excluded from study. Empathy levels were assessed using the Jefferson Scale of Empathy – Healthcare Providers Version (JSE-HP), a widely recognized and validated instrument for measuring empathy in healthcare professionals. Results: The patients had a mean age of 23.5±3.1 years. The age range varied from 24 to 34 years. In terms of gender distribution, 57.8% were male, while 42.2% were female. Regarding the participant’s year of under graduation the majority were distributed across different years like 26.7% in the 1st year, 31.1% in the 2nd year, 24.4% in the 3rd year, and 17.8% in the 4th year. Among the undergraduate participants, 37.77% fell into the category of Moderate Empathy (JSE scores between 70 and 79), with a mean empathy score of 77.5 ± 6.3. The High Empathy category (JSE scores between 80 and 89) comprised 46.66% of the participants, and their mean empathy score was 82.3 ± 5.7. The quantitative data from the JSE-HP were analyzed using statistical software SPSS version 23.0. Conclusion: The study revealed a decline in the mean empathy scores (JSE–HPS) among dentistry students as students advance through the years of their dental education. Highlighting the importance of empathy in the dentistry curriculum is essential for strengthening the bond between dentists and patients, which in turn leads to better treatment results.

Published
2023-12-31
How to Cite
Rehman, A., Muhammad, N., Afzal, M., Anwaar, A., Ahmad, F., & Rana, A. I. (2023). Empathy Levels of Dental Undergraduate Towards Their Patients During Practice – A Cross-Sectional Study. Annals of Punjab Medical College (APMC), 17(4), 479-482. https://doi.org/10.29054/apmc/2023.1338