Fostering Empathy in Physician Assistant Students Using an Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Training Module
AAPA ePoster library. Moore A. 05/17/17; 180540; 202
Alexis Moore
Alexis Moore
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Abstract
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PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to teach Physician Assistant (PA) students empathy skills as a means to increase their comfort and communication skills related to discussing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) topics with adolescent patients. On average, health care professionals (HCPs) spend 36 seconds on sexuality talk during health maintenance visits with adolescents. Additionally, many providers report discomfort with sexual topics. Strategies for discussing SRH topics should be a part of curricula for health providers. Unfortunately, physicians identify lack of training as the primary reason they avoid SRH-related conversations. Fortunately, interventions such as role-plays with standardized patients and interviewing techniques can improve the likelihood of SRH discussions between HCPs and patients. Empathy is acknowledged as an essential element in providing adequate patient care. Higher levels of empathy are associated with greater patient satisfaction, better health outcomes, and improved patient adherence. Previous research has examined the role of empathy in patient care and describes the ability to deliver such care as reliant on the key features of: humility, self-awareness and communication. Reviews of medical education models document that empathy begins declining with each successive year of clinical training, such that third year medical residents, have less empathy compared to their didactic year colleagues. A hallmark of PA education is greater and more effective communication with patients, thus, it is paramount that students receive substantial training in empathy skills in order to provide more well rounded and optimal care to clients. Further, it is clear that HCPs need additional training to provide high quality care to adolescents. METHODOLOGY: Thirty-eight PA students (33 females, age 25.8 +/- 3.7) attending a private southern university in the US participated in a three-week curriculum promoting empathy strengthening during their didactic year. The sessions focused on sexuality conversations with adolescents and included: defining and recognizing empathy in communication, how to use empathetic statements, role-playing, and group discussion. Participants comfort with and knowledge of adolescent sexuality as well as empathy (adapted version of the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy) were assessed at three time points over a 9-month period (times 0=pre training, 1=post training, and 2=post clinical exposure). Op...
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to teach Physician Assistant (PA) students empathy skills as a means to increase their comfort and communication skills related to discussing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) topics with adolescent patients. On average, health care professionals (HCPs) spend 36 seconds on sexuality talk during health maintenance visits with adolescents. Additionally, many providers report discomfort with sexual topics. Strategies for discussing SRH topics should be a part of curricula for health providers. Unfortunately, physicians identify lack of training as the primary reason they avoid SRH-related conversations. Fortunately, interventions such as role-plays with standardized patients and interviewing techniques can improve the likelihood of SRH discussions between HCPs and patients. Empathy is acknowledged as an essential element in providing adequate patient care. Higher levels of empathy are associated with greater patient satisfaction, better health outcomes, and improved patient adherence. Previous research has examined the role of empathy in patient care and describes the ability to deliver such care as reliant on the key features of: humility, self-awareness and communication. Reviews of medical education models document that empathy begins declining with each successive year of clinical training, such that third year medical residents, have less empathy compared to their didactic year colleagues. A hallmark of PA education is greater and more effective communication with patients, thus, it is paramount that students receive substantial training in empathy skills in order to provide more well rounded and optimal care to clients. Further, it is clear that HCPs need additional training to provide high quality care to adolescents. METHODOLOGY: Thirty-eight PA students (33 females, age 25.8 +/- 3.7) attending a private southern university in the US participated in a three-week curriculum promoting empathy strengthening during their didactic year. The sessions focused on sexuality conversations with adolescents and included: defining and recognizing empathy in communication, how to use empathetic statements, role-playing, and group discussion. Participants comfort with and knowledge of adolescent sexuality as well as empathy (adapted version of the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy) were assessed at three time points over a 9-month period (times 0=pre training, 1=post training, and 2=post clinical exposure). Op...
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