Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Empathy is the ability of a person to understand what another is experiencing from the receiver's perspective and the ability to communicate that understanding to the receiver. In nursing, empathy is believed to be a necessary component to the nurse-patient relationship. Evidence shows a decline in empathy specifically noted over time in nursing students who are preparing to graduate and enter the workforce. The practice focused question for this project asked whether an experiential learning toolkit for development of nursing empathy can improve sophomore nursing student empathy as measured via the Jefferson Scale of Empathy. This project was guided by evidence that demonstrated a continued need to measure the effect of activities aimed at fostering empathy in nursing students. The design for this project was a one group pre and post evaluation of a current healthcare program experiential learning toolkit. The project utilized a toolkit learning activity including case study and discussion in an undergraduate academic setting to assess whether empathy can be fostered in nursing students. Empathy levels were measured pre and post intervention utilizing the Jefferson Scale of Empathy. Analysis demonstrated a 3% increase in overall Jefferson score post intervention indicating an increase in empathic tendency. Of the 20 items on the scale, most scores increased pre to post survey. The findings are suggestive that experiential learning may be a viable strategy to increase empathy in nursing students. This project holds significant value for social change with the potential to identify effective methods to develop student nurses' expression of empathy.