1 Center For Educational Research in Medical Sciences (CERMS), Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; Department of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Medical Education Research Center, Health Management and Safety Promotion Research Institute, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran


Introduction: Clinical empathy ascertains the quality of doctorpatientrelationship and entails beneficial outcomes for bothparties. Role-modeling is a major factor in promoting clinicalempathy skills of medical students. The present study attemptedto explain the importance of role-modeling in clinical empathy ofmedical interns. It was also intended to obtain a better and moreprofound understanding of the subject based on the experiencesof medical interns.Methods: In this qualitative conventional content analysis, semistructuredindividual interviews were conducted with 14 medicalinterns and 6 clinical professors. The participants were selected bypurposive sampling. All interviews were recorded, transcribed,and analyzed. Trustworthiness, credibility, and confirmability ofthe data were confirmed.Results: Data analysis led to the emergence of a theme called rolemodeling,and two subcategories: “advertent role-modeling” and“inadvertent role-modeling”. Advertent role-modeling included“influenced by the charismatic personality of professors”, “critiqueof faculty members’ communicative behaviors with patients”, and“observation of the faculty members’ performance”. Inadvertentrole-modeling included “crystallization of human values incommunication behaviors” and “compliance with hierarchicalbehavior”.Conclusion: Role-modeling was the main theme of the presentstudy. To improve clinical empathy skills, particular attentionshould be paid to role-modeling. Informing clinical professorsand medical students on role-modeling, strengthening students’empathetic behaviors by role model professors, and recruitmentof professors with strong communication skills are among therecommended strategies of this study.Keywords: Medical students, Empathy, Role-modeling, Qualitative study

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