Empathy in the emotional interactions with patients. Is it positive for nurses too?

letizia dal santo, Sabine Pohl, Luisa Saiani, Adalgisa Battistelli


Empathy, a complex and multidimensional concept, has been defined in many ways within the context of nursing. Although there is general support that nurses’ empathic attitude is important for patient’s adherence to treatment and care satisfaction, there are still some inconsistencies in the link between empathy and nurses’ well-being. The general aim of this study is to verify the role played by empathy in promoting well-being in nursing work. Therefore, 222 nurses from different hospitals in a north region of Italy, completed a self-administered questionnaire. A cross-sectional survey was conducted.

Our result show that empathy is composed by two factors: a cognitive dimension (perspective taking) and an affective one (compassion). Perspective taking enhances job satisfaction, work engagement and reduces turnover intention. Compassion does not. These findings confirm that perspective taking and compassion have different impact on nurses’ well-being. Further studies is required to inform education or for application in clinical settings.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v4n2p74

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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