Purpose: The purpose of this research was to investigate the effect of a role-playing training program for empathetic communication with patients on empathy scores of operating room nursing students.
Methods: This clinical trial was carried out on 77 operating room nursing students from the first to the fourth years studied in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in the academic year 2017-2018. The intervention administered on the experimental group included a 12-hour training program with the theme of expressing empathy to patients using a role-playing technique. The Jefferson Scale of Empathy-Health Profession Students' Version was completed before, immediately after, and one month after the intervention by the samples. Comparison analysis was done among three stages.
Results: Comparing the total mean empathy scores before intervention in the control group and the experimental one did not reveal a significant difference (P=0.50); however, the total mean empathy scores in the experimental group, immediately after and one month after the intervention, was higher than that in the control group (P<0.001).
Conclusion: Empathy training through a role-playing technique was effective on improving the empathy scores of operating room nursing students and it also highlighted the fact that empathy could be promoted by education. Making changes in educational curriculum of operating room nursing students was indispensable in order to make them familiar with the concept of empathy in operating room.
Keywords: Empathy; Iran; Operating room; Role-playing; Students.