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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing

Publication Details

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, OnlineFirst, © 2023 The Authors


This systematic review aimed to explore the impact educational interventions have on undergraduate nursing and medical students' attitudes and empathy levels towards people with disability. There are over one billion people with some form of disability currently. A growing body of research reveals that nurses and doctors display negative attitudes including decreased empathy towards people with disability. A systematic review using narrative synthesis of chosen randomized controlled trials was employed. A comprehensive search was completed in June 2021 on six databases (CINAHL, Medline, Science Direct, Health Research Premium - PROQUEST, Scopus. Cochrane Library). The search strategy yielded 21,616 studies and only three randomised controlled trials fulfilled the eligibility criteria. These trials included 125 participants (n = 50 medical students and n = 75 nursing students) and evaluated the effectiveness of a disabled health course, disability education module with bedside teaching and wheelchair workshop intervention. Findings from one study revealed that a disabled health course using affective learning method based on a transformative learning theory significantly improves attitudes to disability amongst nursing students however there was no statistically significant difference in empathy levels. More high-quality randomised controlled trials with greater theoretical and methodological complexity are needed to identify more effective educational approaches that enhance attitude and empathy levels of these key stakeholders.

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Nursing Commons