Is empathy an important attribute of midwives and other health professionals?: A review
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Department of Midwifery, University of West Attica, Athens, Greece
Polyxeni Fifli   

University of West Attica, Passions 44-46, 11631 Athens, Greece
Publication date: 2019-02-12
Submission date: 2017-05-03
Final revision date: 2018-12-09
Acceptance date: 2018-12-09
Eur J Midwifery 2019;3(February):4
This paper is a report of a systematic review to identify and analyze studies of the measurement of empathy in midwives and other health professionals. Empathy has been recognized as an important factor in patient care, with positive outcomes for both patients and health professionals. There is a debate on the definition of empathy, on its measurement and on the possibility of improvement.

Searches were made of the CINAHL, SCOPUS, PubMed and PsychINFO databases using the terms empathy, clinical, midwifery, nursing, medical students, measurement, and health professionals, singly or in combination, to identify literature published in English between 2002–2015. The included papers were critically reviewed and a narrative synthesis was conducted.

In all, 22 papers met the inclusion criteria by studies that were conducted to measure the levels of empathy in a variety of health professionals and students. Their scores were analyzed in correlation with their sociodemographic factors.

Despite numerous studies, many correlations but also differences exist, indicating the complexity of empathy and the need to further study it.

V.G. Vivilaki reports that she is the Editor-in-chief of EJM journal and that there are no conflicts of interest with this current work. The rest of the authors also have completed and submitted an ICMJE form for disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and none was reported.
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