Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Jane Gervasio

Second Advisor

Allison O'Malley


Background: Clinical empathy may be defined as "the ability to listen to, understand, sympathize with, and provide support to another individual." Empathy has been shown to influence patient satisfaction, adherence, and improve clinical outcomes. Teaching empathy skills in the classroom and clinical setting is imperative to allow students to develop and enhance their communication with patients.

Study Objective: To evaluate two empathy projects in the RX 618 Nutrition Support Professional Elective to identify if the projects are effective in improving pharmacy students' knowledge of empathy.

Methods: The study objective was met using a prospective cohort survey based study. An interactive empathy survey was employed at the beginning of the course and at the end of the course. Pre and post scores were assessed. Results: Participants had increased understanding of empathy when asked to define it pre-course and post-course (62.5% vs. 75%). Participants tended to agree more with the statement that empathy can be learned in the post-course survey (3.56 vs. 3.75; p = 0.128). Participants also had increased overall self-reported empathy scores upon taking the postcourse survey (26.37 ± 4.0 vs 29.87 ± 3.9;p = 0.017).

Conclusion: Participants reported increased understanding of empathy and increased empathy scores at the conclusion of the course; therefore, supporting the effectiveness of the two course projects.