Using Empathy in Communication

Respond to this post by proposing a recommendation on how your colleagues might address the challenges they described.


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Shadow Health is a Digital Clinical experience (DCE) with a virtual patient that helps students enhance their assessment skills through an online assessment practice (Shadow Health, 2019). Students interview their virtual patients regarding health histories and conduct a physical exam. The exercise conversation concept lab enables students to ask open-ended questions and closed-ended questions with the online patient. However, the students must ask the right questions to generate a response. In some cases, I was rewording my questions or used the suggested questions provided by shadow health, and the avatar responded with the same answer from my previous question. It can be frustrating trying to figure out how to word a question correctly. Shadow health requires students to practice and ask specific and straightforward questions. For example, if the patient has an allergic reaction to a medication, students must ask about the patient’s allergy symptoms instead of what is your symptom? According to Miller (2021), asking specific and simple questions will generate an answer. He also recommends avoiding pronouns.

Open-ended questions allow patients to elaborate their answers, giving the nurse more opportunity to gather relevant information. Open-ended questions encourage patients to tell their stories (Bickley, 2017 p 66).  Open-ended questions are used when obtaining the patient’s chief complaint and the history of the present illness. On the other hand, closed-ended questions can be answered by “yes or no”” and limit the nurse’s opportunity to gather additional information. Empathy is “an intentional act which aims at understanding another person’s meaning-creating expression with a descriptive focus

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