Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


The present study examined the possible relationships among: empathy in the rural registered nurse (RN), self-concept and years of experience. Previous research had found a relationship between years of nursing experience and empathy. Other literary works suggested that self- concept may influence the ability to empathize. The purpose of this investigation was to examine whet her or not a relationship existed between empathy and each of the above variables among rural registered nurses. Erickson, Tomlin and Swain's (1988) paradigm of modeling and role-modeling provided the theoretical framework for the present study. Modeling enables the nurse to understand the client's perspective of his world. Role-modeling is accomplished by planning and implementing nursing care which is individualized and unique to the client. The nurse, in a partnership with the client, facilitates healing by promoting client control and strengths and ultimately, accomplishment of mutual goals. The present descriptive correlational study collected data from rural Kansas RNs pertaining to their empathy, self-concept, years of experience, level of education, age and gender. Eligible participants were required to have a current Kansas RN license and work in a rural health care facility located in rural Kansas. Correlational analysis was used to identify if a significant relationship existed between empathy, self-concept and years of experience. Age, gender and educational background were also examined. The ability to identify variables that correlate statistically with empathy within the health care professional would contribute to the understanding of a concept which, although essential to the profession of nursing, remains poorly understood. Being able to exhibit empathic concern for the client increases client satisfaction and enhances positive outcomes (Raudonis, 1993). In turn, this may increase personal satisfaction for the nursing professional and enhance nursing process and direct nursing care.


Mary R. Hassett

Date of Award

Fall 1996

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1996 Janet Marie Myers


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