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Humanising medical practice: the role of empathy

Med J Aust 2007; 187 (7): 381-382.

Empathy should be sought and supported as a desirable, career-long trait in doctors

Many observers have argued that medical practice is increasingly dehumanised, dominated by impersonal technologies and economic imperatives.1 A solution that is sometimes offered is to cultivate empathy in doctors.2 Many doctors may be sceptical, wondering whether empathy is too ill-defined to make a difference in the pressured arena of clinical work. Perhaps it can be safely left to essay-writing medical humanists or to the nursing staff . . .

  • Nick Haslam

  • Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC.

Correspondence: nhaslam@unimelb.edu.au

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