Empathy, An Essential Concept For Nursing Practice

874 Words Mar 10th, 2016 4 Pages
Empathy is defined as the ability to communicate an understanding of a client’s feelings, and is a crucial component of the helping relationship (Boggs. 2011, p.106). Empathy is an essential concept to nursing practice as it allows the nurse to gain perspective in order to provide appropriate actions and interventions significant to that patient’s individual experience. In Tilda Shalof’s “A Nurses’ Story”, the author, a registered nurse in the intensive care unit (ICU), struggles with a particularly difficult patient case and must reflect upon her own values and subsequent judgments in order to provide adequate nursing care.
Empathy provides the nurse with the perspective that is necessary to consider the most appropriate actions and interventions significant to a patient’s individual experience (Boggs. 2011, p.107). Failure of the nurse to empathize with a patient can result in a strained therapeutic relationship as a result of providing inadequate emotional support and client education (Boggs. 2011, p.107). In providing empathetic care it is important to mentally picture the client’s situation and perform self-checks, thereby assessing for personal bias and stereotypes (Arnold. 2011 p. 84). Additionally, there are multiple barriers to providing empathetic care, which include lack of time, lack of trust, lack of privacy, and lack of support, amongst others (Boggs. 2011, p.115).
The use of empathy within nursing practice requires the use of three major skills, which…
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