The importance of empathy in undergraduate nursing education is undeniable yet scholars from multiple disciplines struggle with a precise definition. Unfortunately, empathy is on the decline nationally, particularly with traditional college-aged individuals. An additional challenge to the empathy of healthcare professionals is caring for individuals with alcohol use disorders due to the difficult nature of the symptomatology. Simulation with standardized patients is frequently used to evaluate the empathy of health care professional students. However, little evidence exists regarding simulation with standardized patients and empathy of nursing students towards individuals with an alcohol use disorder.

Concept analysis is often used to understand an ambiguous concept. Chapter 2, “Empathy: A concept analysis” explores the dynamics of empathy, to contribute to a standardized language of this concept in nursing. The term standardized patient also lacks conformity and requires clarification. “Standardized patient: A concept analysis”, chapter 3, examines the elements of a standardized patient to add consistency to the definition and to advance the research of this concept.

This research study evaluated the effectiveness of a simulation intervention with a standardized patient portraying a patient with alcohol use disorder on the level of empathy of baccalaureate nursing students. A mixed methods design was used that included a single site study with first semester nursing students. Quantitative data were collected using the Comprehensive State Empathy Scale and analyzed with paired samples t and independent t-tests. A focus group followed the simulation intervention and generated qualitative data from thematic analysis.

Date of publication

Fall 11-26-2018

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Gloria Duke; Dr. Eric Stocks; Dr. Melinda Hermanns


Nursing PhD

Available for download on Thursday, November 26, 2020

Included in

Nursing Commons