University of Tasmania
paramedic-empathy-levels (2).pdf (144.29 kB)

An assessment of undergraduate paramedic students' empathy levels

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 18:39 authored by Williams, B, Boyle, M, Brightwell, R, Devenish, S, Hartley, P, McCall, MJ, McMullen, PM, Munro, G, O'Meara, P, Webb, V
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess the extent of empathy in paramedic students across seven Australian universities. Methods: A cross-sectional study using a paper-based questionnaire employing a convenience sample of first, second, and third year undergraduate paramedic students. Student empathy levels were measured using the Medical Condition Regard Scale (MCRS). Results: A total of 783 students participated in the study of which 57% were females. The medical conditions: intellec-tual disability, attempted suicide, and acute mental illness all produced mean scores above 50 suggesting good empathetic regard, while patients presenting with substance abuse produced the lowest mean score (M=41.57, SD= 12.29). There was a statistically significant difference between males (M=49.79) and females (M=51.61) for patients with intellectual disability (t(778)=2.76, p=0.006). Conclusions: The findings from this study found that student reported poor empathetic regard for patients with substance abuse, while female students report higher levels of empathy than their male colleagues across each medical condition. The overall findings provide a framework for educators to begin constructing guidelines focusing on the need to incorporate, promote and instil empathy into paramedic students in order to better prepare them for future out-of-hospital healthcare practice.


Publication title

International Journal of Medical Education


98 - 102




Tasmanian School of Medicine

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Licenced under Creative Commons Attribution Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

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  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Evaluation of health and support services not elsewhere classified

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