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Empathy: The Key to Effective Teaching

18 Nov 2018

In a typical 21st century classroom in a medical/dental/pharmacy/dietetics school, the students and faculty has intense focus on academic achievement and learning clinical skills that has resulted in a narrowing of student focus. There’s been a large body of research linking teaching empathy in health sciences education to emotional development, which leads to improved cognitive-affective development. Recent studies have shown a decline in empathy during medical/dental training. Empathy is widely spoken about in terms of ‘putting yourself in someone else’s shoes’, and while this analogy touches upon what empathy is, the concept itself is far more complex and arduous to define.

Since the inception of the Hippocratic Oath, there has been Increased emphasis on the affective domain especially on empathy, ethics and professionalism, and extensive guidelines for how doctors should conduct themselves as practitioners of holistic patient-centred care. Delivering compassionate patient-centered care remains a core value of the healthcare profession and is central to the educational mission of International Medical University (IMU). To help reinforce faculty capacity for empathy training, a half day workshop on Empathy – The Key to Effective Teaching was organised by IMU Centre for Lifelong Learning (ICL) on 14 September 2018. This workshop was a follow up on the recommendations made in the book “Embracing Tomorrow’s Challenges: Continuing IMU’s Journey”. Open to internal and external participants, the workshop was facilitated by A/Prof Muneer Gohar Babar and Prof Dato’ Sivalingam Nalliah.

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