Measuring empathy of medical students studying different curricula; a causal comparative study.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine the difference in empathy level of undergraduate medical students studying two different curricula. METHODS This cross-sectional study was conducted at Independent Medical College of Faisalabad and Islamic International Medical Collegeof Islamabad, both in Pakistan, from July to September 2016. The two medical colleges had two different types of curriculum systems; the integrated modular system and the discipline-based curriculum. The Toronto empathy questionnaire was used to calculate empathy scores. The responses were scored between 0 and 64 by taking sum of all the 16 questions. T-test was used to compare the mean scores and empathy levels between the two groups. SPSS 20 was used for data analysis. RESULTS Of the 160 students, there were 80(50%) belonging to each institute. In the integrated modular system, 44(55%) students were females, whereas in the discipline-based system 45(56%) students were males. Students enrolled in the integrated modular system had a higher mean empathy score than students in the discipline-based system (44.2±6.59 versus 39.7±6.54, p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS Interventions during the educational journey about empathy had positive influence on students' personalities and their future practices.

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