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International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences (IJMRHS)
ISSN: 2319-5886 Indexed in: ESCI (Thomson Reuters)

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Abstract

Levels of Empathy among Dental Students at CMH Lahore Medical College and Institute of Dentistry (NUMS ) Lahore Pakistan

Author(s):Rizwana Kamran, Attia Bari, Farhat Ijaz*, Hira Sohail, Nauman Zaheer, Humaira Usman Jaffery and Rana Khurram Aftab

Objectives: To measure levels of empathy among undergraduate dental students in Pakistani Dentistry Institute and to find the difference with respect to gender and academic year in the dental college. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted at CMHLMC and IOD in Pakistan, from December 2018 to April 2019, and comprised dental students of all four years. A valid and reliable “The Toronto empathy questionnaire” was used for the collection of data. Responses were indicated on a four-point Likert scale and total scores ranged from 0-64, with higher values indicating higher levels of empathy. Eight out of sixteen items were positively worded and the remaining eight items were negatively worded. Comparison of empathy scores across the year of study was analyzed using one-way ANOVA whereas a t-test was utilized for gender differences. SPSS version 20 was used for data analysis. Results: Questionnaire was returned by 281 students, with a 94% response rate. First-year dentistry students scored the highest mean score of 3.0, followed by second and third-year students by scoring 2.8 whereas the final year students obtained the lowest mean empathy score of 2.7. When mean empathy scores were compared among students of all 4 years by ANOVA test, it was found to be statistically significant, F=3.22, p=0.02. No significant differences in empathy scores were found with respect to gender (p ≥ 0.05). Conclusion: The present study reported a decline of empathy mean scores among dentistry students as the years of study progressed. This study reflects the need for early exposure to clinical training, educational programs and innovative teaching strategies in the undergraduate dentistry curriculum by emphasizing on dentists-patient communication skills, which in turn could encourage dentistry students to become empathetic health professionals.


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