Original Research

Students’ self-perception of empathy in caring

Lerato Matshaka
Curationis | Vol 46, No 1 | a2364 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v46i1.2364 | © 2023 Lerato Matshaka | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 June 2022 | Published: 23 June 2023

About the author(s)

Lerato Matshaka, Department of Nursing Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: The attribute of empathy leads to more desired patient outcomes. A patient who experiences empathy from student nurses will feel important and cared for. It is vital to know how student nurses perceive themselves in terms of empathy in caring. Thus, self-reflection is a requirement on the part of student nurses in a caring relationship.

Objectives: This study aimed to determine student nurses’ self-perceptions of empathy in caring and compare the third- and fourth-year student nurses’ self-perceptions of empathy in caring.

Method: A quantitative, descriptive and comparative approach was employed in the study. The population was undergraduate student nurses in their third- and fourth-year level of study (n = 77), while 56 respondents participated in the study. Ethical approval was obtained prior to commencing with the study. Data were collected by way of the Consultation and Relational Empathy measure questionnaire that consisted of 10 items responded to by using the 5-point Likert scale. Data were analysed by means of descriptive statistics, inferential statistics and t-tests.

Results: All the student nurses perceived themselves to have empathy in caring. There was no significant difference in perceptions of empathy in caring by the nurses in their third- and fourth-year level of study.

Conclusion: The results of the study provide insights for nursing education and training to shape and mould the empathy perceived by the student nurses. Future research could focus on the patients’ perspective coupled with the student nurses’ perspective to prevent bias.

Contribution: This paper contributes by adding self perceptions of empathy by student nurses to support best practice in nursing.


caring; empathy; perceptions; student nurses; mindfulness; awareness.


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Crossref Citations

1. Empatía en internos de enfermería de una universidad ubicada en lima metropolitana
Lucia Asencios-Trujillo, Lida Asencios-Trujillo, Carlos La Rosa-Longobardi, Djamila Gallegos-Espinoza, Livia Piñas-Rivera
Salud, Ciencia y Tecnología - Serie de Conferencias  vol: 1  first page: 350  year: 2022  
doi: 10.56294/sctconf2022350