Parting Thoughts: A Paradigm of Empathy and Future Directions
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In this final chapter, empathy is viewed from a broader and more comprehensive perspective of systems theory. In a systemic paradigmof empathy in patient care, the contributions of major subsets of the system (e.g., clinicianrelated, nonclinician related, social learning, and education) and their related elements to clinical encounters, that lead to functional or dysfunctional system outcomes is discussed. An agenda for future research includes the following areas: (1) an examination of additional components of empathy; (2) the investigation of other correlates of empathy; (3) consideration of empathy as a criterion for admissions, selection, and employment; (4) the study of empathy as a predictor of career choice and professional success; (5) the development and evaluation of approaches for the enhancement of empathy in professional education; (6) consideration of patients’ and peers’ perspectives in outcomes of empathy research; and (7) an examination of neuroanatomical aspects and neurophysiological indicators of empathy. It is recommended that implementation of remedies for enhancement of empathy is a mandate that must be acted upon.
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