Developing capability for empathic practice

Narelle Patton, Bruce Newton

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    At the core of health professional practice is the aim of acting for the good of others in situations where uncertainty is ever present and humanity is central. While health practice is based on scientific knowledge, it is primarily carried out with people within social contexts (Trede & Flowers, 2014). This inherent humanness of health practice highlights the importance of properly functioning relationships to achieve the desired health practice aims and positive outcomes for other people (Patton & Nicholls, 2014). Further, the contemporary focus in health settings on person-centred models of healthcare highlights the centrality of people and relationships to optimal health service delivery. In this chapter we build on the contention that the establishment and maintenance of authentic health practice relationships and achievement of person-centred care are built upon the bedrock of solid health professional empathic capabilities. The concept of empathy is highlighted and the important distinction between affective and cognitive components of empathy is made. We propose that high-quality sustainable health practices are underpinned by the achievement of an appropriate balance between these two components of empathy, and strategies are offered for enhancing empathic capabilities of health professional students to achieve this standard of care.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDeveloping practice capability
    Subtitle of host publicationTransforming workplace learning
    EditorsNarelle Patton, Joy Higgs, Megan Smith
    Place of PublicationLeiden, The Netherlands
    PublisherBrill | Sense
    Number of pages8
    ISBN (Electronic)9789004366923
    ISBN (Print)9789004366916, 9789004366909
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2018

    Publication series

    NameHigher Education Horizons
    PublisherBrill Sense


    Dive into the research topics of 'Developing capability for empathic practice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this