Session 3B | Paper 2 Using service user facilitated knowledge sharing days to develop empathy in radiography students

Dr Edwin Abdurakman, Lecturer in Diagnostic Radiography – City, University of London, School of Health Sciences, Division of Midwifery and Radiography

Dr Sophie Willis, Senior Lecturer – City, University of London, School of Health Sciences, Division of Midwifery and Radiography

Dr Irene Ctori, Senior Lecturer  – City, University of London, School of Health Sciences, Division of Optometry and Visual Sciences

Susanna Glover – Patient Experience Lead, Breast Cancer Now

Amanda Hobson Jones – volunteer (service user) , Breast Cancer Now


This paper aims to share best practice experiences of a collaboration between Breast Cancer Now charity and City, University of London to embed service user participation throughout the curriculum. It is a powerful stimulus for students to reflect on the impact of their roles and reaffirm their decisions to embark on healthcare careers.

Empathy is an essential part of any healthcare interaction (Derksen et al, 2013), however the ambiguity of meaning and the question of whether or not it can be taught has lead educators to consider alternative ways to develop the skills of empathy in their students (Marshall and Bleakley, 2009; Maatta, 2006).  This combined with the drive for service user engagement to be included within healthcare educational programmes (HCPC, 2018) has offered the radiography teams the opportunity to introduce a ‘Knowledge Sharing Day’ into the undergraduate programmes.   These days involve a number of different service users giving an overview of their experiences of medical imaging and oncology services they have experienced during their care, or in one case a carer of a patient with cancer sharing their experiences, expectations and perspectives of their care.

Students are encouraged to reflect within the session and ask questions of those facilitating them to develop a more holistic perspectives of patent centred care and the impact that their actions can have upon the experience of those within their care. The sessions further aim to reinforce the importance of empathy as a core quality required of all health care professional in their roles as well as the impact that they can have in promoting high quality patient care via empathetic engagement with all service users. This can be more broadly applied to all students at City and beyond who engage with external stakeholders.

The aim of this presentation is to share the impact of these days by presenting the findings of the pre and post-session empathy questionnaire which were given to students. The findings from each questionnaire were collated and analysed using a t-test for group comparisons to measure students’ levels of empathy pre- and post- delivery of the component. Effect sizes will be calculated to determine the clinical significance of findings (Berg et al., 2011)

Slides from the session

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Recording of the session:

Paper 2 starts from 29:27 into the recording.


Berg K, Majdan JF, Berg D, Veloski J, Hojat M. (2011). Medical students’ self-reported empathy and simulated patients’ assessments of student empathy: An analysis by gender and ethnicity. Acad Med.;86:984–988.

Derksen, F. Bensing, J. and Lagro-Janssen. (2013) Effectiveness of empathy in general practice: a systematic review. British Journal of General Practice, 63 (606), pp.e76 – 84

HCPC (2018), Service user and carer involvement: What we are looking for when you involve service users and carers in your programme. Available at:

Marshall R, Bleakley A (2009). The death of Hector: pity in Homer, empathy in medical education. Med Humanit 2009;35:7e12.

Maatta SM (2006). Closeness and distance in the nurse-patient relation. The relevance of Edith Stein’s concept of empathy. Nurs Philos 2006;7:3e10.

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