Many regard empathy as a critical component of comprehensive health care. Much interest has been generated in the field of medical empathy, in particular as it relates to education. Many desirable outcomes correlate with perceived empathy during the patient encounter, but paradoxically, empathy levels have been reported to decline during the years of medical education. Several new approaches have been described in the literature that intend to teach or develop empathy skills in health-care students.
PubMed, PsycINFO, and Google Scholar databases were searched for the terms empathy education, medical education, medical student, podiatric medical education, medical empathy, compassion, emotional intelligence, biopsychosocial model, and bedside manner. After implementing inclusion and exclusion criteria, articles were selected for preparation of a literature review. Analysis of the podiatric medical education on empathy was conducted by reviewing descriptions of all courses listed on each of the nine US podiatric medical schools' Web sites. The 2018 Curricular Guide for Podiatric Medical Education was analyzed.
In this review, we examine the current state of empathy from a context of medical education in general, followed by a specific analysis in podiatric medicine. We define key terms, describe the measuring of empathy in medicine, explore outcomes of empathy in the health-care setting, review the reports of a decline in medical education, and highlight some of the current efforts to develop the skill in education. An overview of empathy in the podiatric medical curriculum is presented.
To improve the quality of care that physicians provide, a transformation in podiatric medical education is necessary. A variety of tools are available for education reform with the target of developing empathy skills in podiatric medical students.
Medical students (MSs) in allopathic and osteopathic medical programs may not be adequately exposed to the role of podiatric physicians and surgeons in health care. We explored perceptions of the specialty field of podiatric medicine from the perspective of MSs in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area.
In this cross-sectional survey study, responses regarding podiatric education and scope of practice were collected via a 16-question, self-reported, anonymous online survey distributed to MSs at one osteopathic and three allopathic medical schools in the Philadelphia area. Inferences and conclusions were drawn from the percentages of respondents. Statistical analyses for school of attendance, year of study, and physician relative subgroups were performed.
The 129 survey responses obtained revealed misunderstandings regarding podiatric education and training. Only 45.7% correctly answered that podiatric medical students do not take the United States Medical Licensing Examination. The results also showed the perception of podiatry in a positive light, with approximately 80% of respondents agreeing that the term doctor is applicable when referring to a podiatrist. Respondents with a physician relative were more likely to rate podiatry's role in health care higher on a scale from 0 (inessential) to 5 (equivalent to MDs/DOs) than those without a physician relative.
The results of this preliminary survey were generally positive and optimistic while also identifying some misconceptions regarding MS perceptions of podiatric medical training and scope of practice. Further studies are needed to evaluate perceptions of podiatry from the perspective of other members of the health-care team to improve interprofessional relations and understanding.
Discolored toenails is a common complaint presented to podiatric physicians, dermatologists, and primary-care physicians. Although various local and systemic conditions influence changes in nails, nearly 50% is due to fungal infections. We surveyed the health professions student population to gain insight into how future medical professionals may approach this condition and to explore perceptions of onychomycosis, treatments, and effects on quality of life.
The primary outcome measure was a self-reported online Google Forms survey developed by the authors and sent to podiatric, allopathic, and osteopathic medical students and nursing students in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Of the 245 respondents, 92% agreed that toenail fungus is both a health and a cosmetic concern. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said “yes” when asked if they would seek treatment, and 67% would wait 1 month to 1 year to see a medical professional. When seeking treatment, 57% reported that they would see a primary-care physician initially, and 27% and 5% would seek care from a podiatric physician or dermatologist, respectively. A total of 91% would spend up to $300 annually for treatment, with only 4% willing to spend more than $500 per year. Respondents' greatest concern would be physical appearance.
Although agreement exists among the health professions students surveyed that toenail fungus presents both a cosmetic and a health concern, inconsistencies regarding time to treatment, treating professional, and effects on quality of life persist. It is not reasonable for all medical professionals to effectively recognize and treat nail disease, but it is paramount that patients are directed to medical professionals who can accurately exclude other conditions to alleviate social and financial burdens patients may face due to onychomycosis.
Interprofessional collaboration is key to quality outcomes in the health-care systems of today. Simulation is a common tool in podiatric medical education, and interprofessional education has become more common in podiatric medicine programs. Interprofessional simulation is the blending of these educational strategies.
A quantitative design was used to determine the impact of an isolated interprofessional podiatric surgical simulation between nurse anesthesia and podiatric medical students.
Statistically significant differences were observed among participants between preintervention and postintervention surveys using the revised Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale.
Interprofessional simulation can be an effective educational opportunity for podiatric medical and nurse anesthesia students.
Background: Des Moines University College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery (CPMS) is implementing a cultural competency program for third-year podiatric medical students. This study assessed the effectiveness of the new educational program on cultural competency at CPMS by comparing pretest and posttest scores of students from the CPMS graduating classes of 2013 and 2014.
Methods: Students from the class of 2013 completed a 10-week online course on cultural competency, and the class of 2014 students did not. A pretest and posttest survey was used to assess cultural competency. The questions were categorized to assess either knowledge acquisition or attitudinal change. The 2013 students completed the pretest before the course and a posttest after completing the course. Without taking the course, 2014 students completed the same pretest and posttest separated by 10 weeks. A repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to compare the knowledge acquisition scores and attitudinal change scores.
Results: The repeated-measures analysis of variance revealed a significant interaction effect of taking the attitudinal change course (F(1,77) = 15.2; P < .001). The course did not show a significant interaction on knowledge acquisition (F(1,77) = 0.72; P > .05).
Conclusions: The analysis showed a statistically significant improvement in attitudinal change scores. The study suggests that there needs to be a greater knowledge acquisition component to the cultural competency course at CPMS.