Teresita argues that genuine empathy for patients—a level of empathy that allows understanding what they’re going through well enough to be able to meet their needs and adequately support them—can only be learned one way: from the patients themselves.
She offers a very simple, straightforward form of observational evidence to support her claim. Namely, she says that a good number of the newly minted nurses she’s worked with over the years, as much as they may sympathize with patients, have lacked that empathy when they start. It doesn’t matter what kind of person they are, or how they’ve been trained, or where, she says.
They may be highly empathetic people in general, but when it comes to truly connecting to patients’ needs and challenges, they often fall short.