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J Korean Acad Nurs. 2018 Oct;48(5):497-505. English. Original Article.
Ozcan CT , Öksüz E , Oflaz F .
Department of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, School of Nursing, Gulhane Military Medical Academy, Retired, Ankara, Turkey.
Department of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, Gulhane School of Nursing, University of Health Sciences, Etlik Ankara, Turkey.
Department of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, School of Nursing, Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey.


This study aimed to examine changes of empathy levels of nursing student in two different curricula structures, one called “traditional” and the other called “integrated” curricula. The study was a longitudinal design to follow a cohort of nursing students to examine the magnitude of changes in empathy in their education years.


The study was conducted in a public school of nursing giving a baccalaureate degree, which had a fundamental change in their curricula. In all, 81 students from the traditional curricula and 66 students from the integrated curricula completed the study, and data from a total of 147 students were analyzed between 2003 and 2008. The Empathic Communication Skills Scale and the Empathic Tendency Scale were given to the students in the beginning of their freshman year and at the end of the fourth year just before graduation.


Although both of the curricula were seemed effective at improving empathic skills of students, especially the scores of students who completed the integrated curricula were higher than the scores of the other group attending the traditional curricula (p < .05). However, the empathic tendency scores of students in both curricula decreased at the end of fourth year.


Although undergraduate nursing curricula either traditional or integrated improved empathic skills, it seemed that integrated curricula were more effective than traditional curricula in increasing empathic skills. The more hours and more experiential methods contributed to improved empathy. The decrease in empathic tendency requires further attention of educators and nurse managers.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.