I had a general dental practice for 25 years.  As with any small business, you must hire employees to make the business function.  The success is very much dependent upon the employees.  Selecting excellent employees became increasingly important to the extent that I certified as an interviewer with SRI Gallup.  Within that interview, I found that the critical characteristic that I was looking for was empathy.  It told me that as a population, we are very unevenly endowed with empathy.  I came to highly prize anyone who interviewed as being highly empathetic.  When I found and was able to hire, that truly made a difference in the interactions with patients.  The obvious question...was it possible to develop empathy.  The answer I found was that if people had "functional" empathy (neither low nor high), they could develop.  If they were low, I couldn't change that.  It did not mean that low empathy people would be poor employees.  A position with lower client contact could be fine within my practice.  They just needed to understand that there were situations that demanded high empathy.

Is empathy gained by nature or nurture?  Evidently both. 


Your comment will be posted after it is approved.

Leave a Reply.