Self-Reported Empathy among Nursing Students at a University in Jordan

Diala Altwalbeh1, *, Abdullah Mousa Khamaiseh2, Abdulnaser Algaralleh3
1 Al-Balqa Applied University, Mutah, Jordan
2 Department of Community and Mental Health Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Mutah University, Mutah, Jordan
3 Department of Counseling and Special Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Mutah University, Mutah, Jordan

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© 2018 Altwalbeh et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author Al-Balqa Applied University, Mutah, Jordan; Tel: 007962796025066; Emails:;



Empathy is recognized as a highly valued professional characteristic in the nurse-patient relationship. Undergraduate nursing students are taught the importance of empathic relationships. Studies have been undertaken to explore the concept of empathy among nursing students, but there have been no investigations in Jordan or in the Arab world.


The aim of this study is to assess the level of self-reported empathy in undergraduate nursing students at Mutah University.

Research Design:

A cross-sectional study was undertaken using a paper-based version of the Jefferson Scale of Empathy. A convenience sample of 202 students was recruited from first, second, third and fourth year.


The mean score was 92.9, lower than scores reported in other studies. Results showed that female students’ empathy scores were significantly higher than male students, and there was a significant increase in empathy scores by study year.


There is an urgent need for reforming the nursing curriculum with a focus on empathy skills.

Keywords: Empathy, Nursing Education, Undergraduate Curriculum, Arab world, Nurse-patient relationship, Jefferson scale of empathy.