Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Trish Devine


Background: Empathy is taking on a larger role in the pharmaceutical field as pharmacists place emphasis on patient centered care. Service-learning courses can expose pharmacy students to future patients, allowing them to interact and develop empathy. While this study suggests service-leaming can foster empathy, further research is needed to assess the specific outcome of empathy as a result of incorporating a project in a service-learning course for pre-pharmacy students.

Objective: To evaluate the effect on a pharmacy student's empathy after completing a one-on-one patient interview project during a service-learning experience. A secondary objective is to assess tile validity of a rubric designed to evaluate empathy in reflection papers.

Methods: The specific assignment of interviewing a patient was assigned to one PX200 section, while two other PX200 sections were assigned a chronic disease project. A validated Likert scale-based survey was given to all three PX200 sections at the beginning and tile end of tile semester. Students' reflective writing papers were analyzed using a newly constructed rubric by blinded investigators.

Results: Students in both groups had an increase in scores from pre- to post-survey; however, results were not statistically significantly different between tile two groups. Average rubric scores in tile project group were higher than in tile control group (p = 0.037). Scores from tile rubric also correlated well to results of the post-survey.

Conclusion: Although results of the survey component did not show evidence of a statistically significant change between tile two groups, an interview project within a service-learning course may still be beneficial for pre-pharmacy students. In addition, the newly designed rubric can be considered a useful measuring device to evaluate empathy within a group of pre-pharmacy students.