Medical EducationOriginal Article

National Norms for the Jefferson Scale of Empathy: A Nationwide Project in Osteopathic Medical Education and Empathy (POMEE)

Mohammadreza Hojat, PhD; Stephen C. Shannon, DO; Jennifer DeSantis, MEd; Mark R. Speicher, PhD; Lynn Bragan; and Leonard H. Calabrese, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: March 28, 2019

Accepted: April 3, 2019

Published: August 1, 2019

J Osteopath Med; 119(8): 520-532

Context: National norms are necessary to assess individual scores from validated instruments. Before undertaking this study, no national norms were available on empathy scores. The Project in Osteopathic Medical Education and Empathy (POMEE) provided a unique opportunity to develop the first national norms for medical students.

Objectives: To develop national norms for the assessments of osteopathic medical students’ empathy scores on the broadly used and well-validated Jefferson Scale of Empathy (JSE) at all levels of osteopathic medical school education.

Methods: Participants were students from 41 of 48 participating campuses of osteopathic medical schools. Students were invited to complete a web-based survey, which included the JSE, in the 2017-2018 academic year.

Results: A total of 16,149 completed surveys were used to create national norm tables. Three national norm tables were developed for first-year matriculants and for students in preclinical (years 1 and 2) and clinical (years 3 and 4) phases of medical school. The norm tables allow any raw score on the JSE for male and female osteopathic medical students from matriculation to graduation to be converted to a percentile rank to assess an individual’s score against national data.

Conclusions: National norms developed in this project, for men and women and at different levels of medical school education, can not only be used for the assessment of student’s individual scores on the JSE, but can also serve as a supplementary measure for admissions to medical school and postgraduate medical education programs.

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