Effectiveness of empathy clinical education for children’s nursing students: A quasi-experimental study
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BACKGROUND: Empathy is a central competence for nursing students in delivering compassionate care. Empathy training might improve the communication skills in children's nursing students. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effectiveness of the Knowledge, Simulation, and Sharing training programme on empathy skills among children's nursing students. DESIGN: A controlled pre-post intervention study with a quasi-experimental design. SETTING: Tertiary children's hospital in China. PARTICIPANTS: Children's nursing students (n = 250) in clinical internship. METHODS: A Knowledge, Simulation, and Sharing (KSS) module related to empathy learning was developed and tested during a 10-month period in 2017. Nursing students were divided into an experimental group (n = 125) and control group (n = 125). Both groups received the standard internship programme. The experimental group received the KSS training. Outcome measures were: Jefferson Scale of Empathy-Health Professions Student, Clinical Communication Competence Scale and Professional Identity Scale. RESULTS: At the end of the internship the experimental groups had significantly higher empathy scores than the control group (114.57 versus 110.36; p = .016). The communication skills improved significantly in the experimental group after the training; experimental group mean 90.22 versus control group mean 87.41 (p = .042). The professional identity scores were significantly higher in the experimental group at the end of the internship compared to the control group (mean 116.43 versus 107.68; p < .001). Subgroup analysis revealed only significant differences on professional identity outcomes between experimental and control groups on diploma level (mean 115.78 versus 107.72; p < .001); and bachelor's level (mean 120.05 versus 108.00; p < .016). CONCLUSION: The KSS training can enhance empathy and communication skills and the professional identity in children's nursing students. Further long-term effectiveness of the training needs to be tested, ideally with reported outcomes measures of children and parents.
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