CULTIVATING EMPATHY: Inspiring Health Professionals to Communicate More Effectively

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When the Client/Patient Feels Alone

Pp. 39-54 (16)

Kathleen Stephany


In this chapter narrative accounts were shared by persons who experienced or witnessed a lack of empathy. These stories were not intended to place blame on helpers. The goal was to assist practitioners with a better understanding of what it feels like to be treated with a lack of empathy and care in order to ultimately inform practice. In the case in point a nurse told her story of what it felt like to be a patient who was treated with indifference. At the end of the chapter reflective journaling was encouraged as a means to begin to increase self-awareness.


Empathy, self-awareness, narratives, stories, objectification, detached concern, indifference, coroner’s investigation, psychological autopsy, hopelessness.


Full Time Nurse Educator in the Faculty of Health Sciences Douglas College, BC Canada Canada.