Today, I got news that a colleague and myself have won an ASME small grant to explore how students might learn from the patient's online voice. We're starting with students- what do they think they learn from reading patient narratives in forums and blogs and what do they think of this process. I wonder if reading the way that people talk to each other about health and illness online will help students develop empathy for patients.
There are a lot of questions around empathy that I would like to be able to answer:
- What is empathy?
- How is empathy different to sympathy?
- How do we feel what another is experiencing?
- Is empathy necessary to be a good doctor?
- Is too much empathy bad?
- Can we help students develop empathy? And should we?
- How do others know we feel empathy with them?
- Can we fool others into thinking that we feel empathy for them when we don't?
- Can we understand an experience we have not been through?
So in my next few blog posts I will endeavour to discuss some interesting papers that I have come across in the last few months and I hope that we can discuss them together.