Evaluation of empathy and fatigue among physicians and surgeons in tertiary care hospitals of Rawalpindi
Background and Objectives: Clinicians need to build an astute doctor-patient relationship. The term clinical empathy is the ability of doctor to cognitively appreciate a patient’s perspective, experiences, and deliver such an understanding back to patient. Studies associate high physician empathy with improved patient trust and clinical outcomes. In Pakistan, there is paucity of research data on this relationship. This study assessed the empathy and its relation to fatigue levels among physicians and surgeons.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional analytical study involving 262 Physicians and Surgeons (1:1) chosen by convenience sampling method. Physicians and Surgeons were included from three hospitals in Rawalpindi from September 2017 to February 2018 and RAO soft sample calculator was used. The Jefferson Scale for Physician empathy (JSPE) (score range 20-140) and Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI-20) (score range 20-100) were used as data collection tools. The data was analyzed using SPSS version 23. Statistical tests including T-test and Pearson Correlation were used.
Results: Overall, mean score of empathy was found to be 98.8±21.9 (range; 46-138). The empathy in Physicians (106.8±18.3) was found to be greater than Surgeons (89.4±22.1) and the difference was statistically significant (p value <0.01). Mean score of fatigue was 50.6±16.0. The fatigue level in Surgeons was greater than Physicians and the difference was found to be statistically significant (p value < 0.01). Strong negative correlation was observed between empathy and fatigue (r= -0.5, p=<0.01) using Pearson correlation.
Conclusion: Overall, physicians had better empathy than surgeons, while fatigue scores were higher among surgeons. Fatigue is associated with empathy decay. This research provides an understanding of empathy deterioration and other factors responsible for it.
How to cite this:
Rashid Z, Sharif I, Khushk IA, Raja AA. Evaluation of empathy and fatigue among physicians and surgeons in tertiary care hospitals of Rawalpindi. Pak J Med Sci. 2021;37(3):663-667. doi: https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.37.3.1973
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.