Date Approved

6-28-2016

Embargo Period

6-28-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Services and Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Manning, JoAnn B.

Second Advisor

Katz, Paul

Third Advisor

Carrick, Laurie A.

Subject(s)

Emotional intelligence; Medical education; Empathy

Disciplines

Medical Education

Abstract

Medicine has evolved to encompass an alliance between the doctor and patient, in which the doctor must understand the patient holistically (Kaba & Sooriakumaran, 2007). Research suggests that doctor-patient relationship focused training has a meaningful effect on measured health outcomes in patients with conditions such as obesity, diabetes, asthma or osteoarthritis (Reiss & Reinero, 2014). Therefore, the humanistic qualities of medicine, encompassing honesty, integrity, caring, compassion, altruism, empathy, and respect for self, patients, and others are more important than ever in cultivating a strong doctor-patient relationship (Weissmann et al., 2006).

Existing research suggests an underlying capacity for emotional intelligence (EI) is necessary for a doctor to successfully manifest humanistic competence, specifically empathy, in the medical profession (Weng et al., 2008). Yet, there is sparse literature in the medical field that explores the association between EI and empathy in the doctor-patient relationship.

This sequential mixed methods explanatory study findings indicate educational training focusing on the theories and frameworks of EI, may positively influence medical students' empathy and underscores the need for educators to find innovative ways to teach, nurture, and preserve empathy in medical education.

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