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Empathy and patient centred consulting


Dr Bill Laughey

PGCME Clinical Director

Paul Crampton

Dr Paul Crampton

Senior Lecturer



Why this research is needed

Empathy is key to collaborating and co-operating with others. It is the means by which we connect with each other - with family, friends, colleagues, patients. In healthcare, empathy is linked with better satisfaction with the consultation, with improved diagnosis and better health outcomes.

What we are doing

Our research has been mainly qualitative and aimed at understanding how students learn empathy and the enablers and barriers to fostering empathy in health professions education. Along the way, we have pioneered a new method for researching empathy and other constructs related to feelings and emotions: love and breakup letter methodology. 

What we have found so far

This portfolio of work has been a HYMS team effort, with multiple HPE researchers interviewing our medical and PA students to understand empathy pedagogy. We have also collaborated with other medical schools in our research, including Durham, Newcastle and Sheffield. We encourage new research in the field, particularly in our MSc and PhD programmes.


Fragkos, K. C., & Crampton, P. E. (2020). The effectiveness of teaching clinical empathy to medical students: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Academic Medicine, 95(6), 947-957.

Laughey, W., Sangvik Grandal, N. and M Finn, G., 2018. Medical communication: the views of simulated patients. Medical education, 52(6), pp.664-676.

Laughey, W.F., Brown, M.E., Dueñas, A.N., Archer, R., Whitwell, M.R., Liu, A. and Finn, G.M., 2021. How medical school alters empathy: student love and break up letters to empathy for patients. Medical education, 55(3), pp.394-403.

Laughey, W.F., Brown, M.E. and Finn, G.M., 2020. ‘I’m sorry to hear that’—Empathy and Empathic Dissonance: the Perspectives of PA Students. Medical science educator, 30(2), pp.955-964.

Laughey, W.F., Brown, M.E., Liu, A., Dueñas, A.N. and Finn, G.M., 2021. Love and breakup letter methodology: A new research technique for medical education. Medical education, 55(7), pp.818-824.

Bizzari, V., Dambha-Miller, H., Laughaey, W.F., Carvalho, C. and Oxford Empathy Programme, 2019. Defining therapeutic empathy: the philosopher’s view. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 112(3), pp.91-95.

Laughey, W.F., Brown, M.E., Palmer, E.G. and Finn, G.M., 2021. When I say… empathic dissonance. Medical education, 55(4), pp.428-429.

Laughey, W., Sangvik Grandal, N., Stockbridge, C. and Finn, G.M., 2019. Twelve tips for teaching empathy using simulated patients. Medical teacher, 41(8), pp.883-887

Contact us

We welcome enquiries about policy and guidance, collaborations, our research, tutor training, or opportunities to visit or study with us in the Health Professions Education Unit.