HealthDay News — National norms have been developed for assessing empathy among men and women at different levels of medical school education, according to a study published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Mohammadreza Hojat, Ph.D., from the Sidney Kimmel Medical College in Philadelphia, and colleagues developed national norms for assessing osteopathic medical students’ empathy scores on the Jefferson Scale of Empathy (JSE). Students from 41 of 48 participating campuses of osteopathic medical schools were invited to participate in a web-based survey, which included the JSE. National norm tables were created using 16,149 completed surveys.

The researchers developed three national norm tables for first-year matriculants and for students in preclinical and clinical phases of medical school. For male and female osteopathic medical students, from matriculation to graduation, any raw score on the JSE could be converted to a percentile rank using the norm tables to assess an individual’s score against national data.

“Interest in recognizing, assessing, and enhancing empathy among health care professionals is increasing, particularly as studies uncover improved educational and patient outcomes associated with increased empathy in health professions students and practitioners,” the authors write.

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