Empathy

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Empathy is defined as the capacity to recognize emotions that are being experienced by another. It is one of the main components of emotional intelligence. Those who practice empathy effectively can place themselves in the other person’s shoes to better understand how that person feels. Not all people are naturally empathetic, but it is a skill that can be learned and improved. Once empathy is perfected it can enhance a doctor-patient relationship and increase satisfaction. Exercises that can help improve empathetic skills are to completely understand what being empathetic means. There are many misconceptions when it comes to empathy. Some confuse it with sympathy, which is an emotion or feeling of sadness, or concern. Empathy is more so the ability to understand the emotions of others. Another way to enhance your empathetic skills is to practice using it on a regular basis. The more patient interviews you perform with empathy in mind, it should become second nature. Another skill is to remember to not be aggressive and force your views on the patient. At the end of the day health care professionals must remember that the patient and their feelings comes first. An example of when I had to display empathy was during the second week of my rotations. There was a patient that needed a prescription, but her insurance would not cover it. She was very upset. I let her vent out her emotions and I explained how I understood how this could cause her frustration. I told her I would do some research to best resolve the situation. I asked her questions and spoke with her about whether or not she had had this problem before. She said no. I looked up her prescription records to see why she was taking the medication and with the help of my preceptor, we were able to give her an alternate drug and she was able to leave with a prescription filled. She was very appreciative and she applauded us on how we did not just tell her that the insurance wouldn’t cover it. She appreciated...
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