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Empathy: towards a conceptual framework for health professionals

Pauline Irving (Lecturer in Communication in the School of Communication, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Newtownabbey, UK)
David Dickson (Senior Lecturer, in the School of Communication, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Newtownabbey, UK)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 1 June 2004

Abstract

Effective provider‐patient communication and the relationships that it supports are located at the centre of quality health‐care delivery. The patient‐centred approach is increasingly seen as an effective way to provide effective patient care, being more sensitive and responsive to the needs of the individual. Empathy has been identified as a core component of “patient‐centredness” but definitions often lack conceptual clarity. This paper proposes to clarify the definition of empathy keeping the discussion true to Rogers' original definitions of the concept whilst integrating the work of other writers. A major thrust is the development of an innovative conceptual model of empathy which has the potential to both integrate previous research findings and provide a framework for future research and training. The model is based in social psychological conceptions of attitude.

Keywords

Citation

Irving, P. and Dickson, D. (2004), "Empathy: towards a conceptual framework for health professionals", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 212-220. https://doi.org/10.1108/09526860410541531

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited