First clinical encounters with patients: A study of neurophobia and empathy in medical students Primeros encuentros clínicos con pacientes: un estudio de la neurofobia y empatía en estudiantes de medicina
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© 2018 Elsevier España, S.L.U.Introduction: Fear of neurosciences and clinical neurology of students, best known as neurophobia, affects the doctor-patient relationship. The anxiety of clinical encounters interferes with effective management and the creation of inter-personal bonding, such as empathy towards patients. The objective of this study was to assess the levels of neurophobia and empathy that medical students show towards patients in the Neurology Department. Material and methods: A quantitative, descriptive and cross-sectional study was conducted on a sample of 98 students of a private university. A clinical encounter evaluation tool was adapted and 19 items were then used to assess it afterwards. Results: There was evidence of neurophobia, existing in a greater degree in female students. High levels of empathy were observed, although there were significantly lower levels shown by males. Discussion: The students have an obvious concern as regards their ability to manage patients with neurological disease in a self-directed manner. The results regarding empathy were more favourable than previous studies. Future research must analyse these levels further, questioning if these could be preserved in the long-term.