The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Perceived acquisition, development and delivery of empathy in musculoskeletal physiotherapy encounters

Perceived acquisition, development and delivery of empathy in musculoskeletal physiotherapy encounters
Perceived acquisition, development and delivery of empathy in musculoskeletal physiotherapy encounters
Empathy is considered essential to creating a positive clinician-patient relationship, along with improving patient experience and adherence to treatment. It is not clear how physiotherapists acquire their empathic skills.

This study explored physiotherapists’ perceptions of empathy during musculoskeletal clinical encounters. Seventeen participants attended three focus groups separated by clinical employment grade. The definition of empathy, its acquisition and impact on a clinical encounter were discussed, audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.

Six key themes and 48 sub-themes were identified. Empathy was defined similarly in all three focus groups. There was divergence on its acquisition and the extent to which it can be taught, however participants agreed that empathy is an innate characteristic. Senior physiotherapists placed greater emphasis on the importance of empathic communication than student physiotherapists, whilst student and junior physiotherapists considered limited clinical experience to be a barrier in delivering empathic communication, anticipating this to improve over time.

This study identified a mismatch between the perceived importance of empathic communication in the literature and by clinicians, compared with the time spent acquiring and developing these skills. Clinicians need to place a greater emphasis on enhancing their empathic communication skills throughout their career to help create a positive patient experience and enhance clinician-patient relationships.
1753-8076
Allen, Millie V.
f7e3fdc4-a736-4b2b-8e44-0213e0a5dc3c
Roberts, Lisa C.
0a937943-5246-4877-bd6b-4dcd172b5cd0
Allen, Millie V.
f7e3fdc4-a736-4b2b-8e44-0213e0a5dc3c
Roberts, Lisa C.
0a937943-5246-4877-bd6b-4dcd172b5cd0

Allen, Millie V. and Roberts, Lisa C. (2017) Perceived acquisition, development and delivery of empathy in musculoskeletal physiotherapy encounters. Journal of Communication in Healthcare. (doi:10.1080/17538068.2017.1366000).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Empathy is considered essential to creating a positive clinician-patient relationship, along with improving patient experience and adherence to treatment. It is not clear how physiotherapists acquire their empathic skills.

This study explored physiotherapists’ perceptions of empathy during musculoskeletal clinical encounters. Seventeen participants attended three focus groups separated by clinical employment grade. The definition of empathy, its acquisition and impact on a clinical encounter were discussed, audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.

Six key themes and 48 sub-themes were identified. Empathy was defined similarly in all three focus groups. There was divergence on its acquisition and the extent to which it can be taught, however participants agreed that empathy is an innate characteristic. Senior physiotherapists placed greater emphasis on the importance of empathic communication than student physiotherapists, whilst student and junior physiotherapists considered limited clinical experience to be a barrier in delivering empathic communication, anticipating this to improve over time.

This study identified a mismatch between the perceived importance of empathic communication in the literature and by clinicians, compared with the time spent acquiring and developing these skills. Clinicians need to place a greater emphasis on enhancing their empathic communication skills throughout their career to help create a positive patient experience and enhance clinician-patient relationships.

Text
Perceived acquisition, development and delivery of empathy - Accepted Manuscript
Download (142kB)

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 5 August 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 18 August 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 415640
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/415640
ISSN: 1753-8076
PURE UUID: 17c7659a-1779-4bc5-9c2c-3de92ce18df8

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 Nov 2017 17:31
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 05:39

Export record

Altmetrics

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×