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[] Literature and Empathy in Nursing Students

West Coast University, Miami
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9 January 2018
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As the world becomes more diverse, effectiveness of interaction and empathy continue to decrease. In the nursing career, it is important to keep an open mind and an empathetic heart to execute the maximum quality of care. Fiction literature has proven to engender prosocial skills along with empathy and cognitive participation. FMRIs have shown significant correlations between literary pieces and neural activity in parts of the brain associated with empathy. Because nursing students have shown tremendous decrease in empathy approaching their graduation date, this study tests the effectiveness of fiction literature to prove the enhancement of empathy in the nursing students. This research included an equal number of female and male participants entering the nursing program at West Coast University. Subjects were evaluated on empathy before entering the program, then once more as they were about to graduate. The participants were divided into two groups; one of them received a fiction literature course that focused on empathy and the other did not. The group that was enrolled in the fiction literature course excelled remarkably compared to the group who was not stimulated through fiction literature. Because fiction literature allows nursing students (through guided imagery and other literary tools), the group with the additional course comprehended empathy and embraced it better than the control group.


empathy, nursing, nursing students, fiction, literature

Cite this article as

Fernandez, B.; Cueto, M. Literature and Empathy in Nursing Students. In Proceedings of the MOL2NET, International Conference on Multidisciplinary Sciences, 15 January–15 December 2017; Sciforum Electronic Conference Series, Vol. 3, 2018 ; doi:10.3390/mol2net-03-05118


Author biographies

Brigitte Fernandez
Nursing student at West Coast University, Miami
Melissa Cueto
Since obtaining her Master of Arts in English, Melissa Cueto has worked as an educator and writer/editor, both in the U.S. and abroad. Her experience in education includes teaching children, adolescents, and adults in reading, composition, literature, and English language acquisition as well as developing curriculum and presenting professional development seminars for fellow education professionals. She has also worked as a newspaper journalist and has written freelance articles for a number of online publications. Melissa Cueto is currently an instructor at West Coast University, Miami, FL, where she teaches English and Capstone courses.

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