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Can empathy be taught to physicians?

We want competent physicians, but we also want compassionate ones. How do we get them? Is it nature or is it nurture? Is it more important to search out more compassionate students, or should we instill compassion somehow in the ones we start along the training pipeline? I think the answer lies in nurturing what nature has already put there. My background is in pediatric critical care, which I have practiced for thirty-five years. Throughout most of my career, I have taught medical students, residents, and fellows. So I have seen young physicians as they made their way as best they could through the long training process. I also served on a medical school admissions committee for some yea...

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