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Empathic Communication in Virtual Education for Nursing Students: I’m Sorry to Hear That

Strekalova, Yulia A. MS, MBA; Krieger, Janice L. PhD; Kleinheksel, A.J. PhD; Kotranza, Aaron PhD

doi: 10.1097/NNE.0000000000000308
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The current study examined the communication strategies used by undergraduate nursing students (N = 343) to express empathy during simulated health history interviews. Interacting with a virtual patient, students encountered up to 9 information disclosures that warranted the expression of empathy but recognized few (33.54%). Sophistication of language to express empathy varied depending on the disclosure topic. These findings suggest that empathy as a learned skill can be incorporated into a variety of nursing contexts.

Author Affiliations: PhD Candidate, Division of Graduate Studies and Research (Ms Strekalova), and Associate Professor and STEM Translational Communication Center Director (Dr Krieger), College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida; Director of Instructional Design (Dr Kleinheksel) and Chief Technology Officer (Dr Kotranza), Shadow Health, Inc, Gainesville, Florida.

Dr Krieger’s effort was supported in part by the University of Florida Clinical and Translational Science Institute, which is supported in part by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences under award number UL1TR001427. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Ms Strekalova, Division of Graduate Studies and Research, College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida, 2016 Weimer Hall, Gainesville, FL 32510 (

Accepted for Publication: June 25, 2016.

Published ahead of print: August 2, 2016

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