THE SENSETIVENESS AND FULFILLMENT OF Psychological NEEDS: Medical, Health Care and Students

Zlatka Rakovec-Felser



As health was defined as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity, the bio-psychosocial paradigm of health and illness attests that curing occurs when the science of medicine (the biomedical and pathos-physiological aspects of disease) and the art of medicine (the psychological, social, and interpersonal aspects of illness) merge into one unified holistic approach to patient care (Hojat, 2007). In this context the relationship between health care professionals and patients also become an indispensable tool in clinical situations to achieve better patient outcomes (Engel, 1990)3.

In our pilot study in year 2009 we try to verify how are the medical students and students of health care (Universityof Maribor, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Health Care) prepared for their sensitive professional relationship in their future. Testing together 211 students (N= 157 women, N=57 men), we compared the level of emotional empathy, altruistic love, values, and behaviour of 40 medical students, 118 students of health care and the group of 53 students of economics. Because of their professional choice, we expected that the medical and health care students would have higher empathy and altruism scores than the students of economics. Following the self-determination behavioural theory and its concept of autonomy support (Deci, Ryan, 2000)3, we anticipated also that the fulfilment of basic psychological needs could be important factor in everyday health care clinical practice. As the fulfilment of needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness could lead to increased autonomy supportive orientation in interactions with other subjects, and can be useful factor that prepare doctors or nurses for active participation in relationship with patients, we verified and compared the included groups also in this way.


Key words: interpersonal relationships in health care system, empathy, altruism, fulfilment of psychological needs;





empathy, altruism, fulfilment of psychological needs

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