Empathy vs Sympathy In Healthcare

Over the last twenty-five years, I’ve learned how to separate empathy for patients and having sympathy for their situations.   Exactly what are the two and how are they different?

Wikipedia defines Empathy as the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other being’s frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.

Sympathy is the perception, understanding, and reaction to the distress or need of another life form.

As a professional respiratory therapist I’ve learned over the years how to separate the two feelings.

As a new graduate working in the hospital, I was overwhelmed by these two emotions.  Seeing patients who are suffering daily is exhausting.  You want to wave a magic wand and make their pain and sickness go away.  Seeing their families every day and watching their facial expressions makes sympathy easy.  It’s learning to separate the two that becomes difficult. 

In an article by Carla Delgado, a freelance reporter for Insider magazine explains, “Why the world needs you to be more empathetic and stop sympathizing”.

She does a fantastic job of comparing the two emotions, and why they should be separate.

It’s important to understand the differences between empathy and sympathy, which include:

As healthcare workers, we must determine which one is better during certain situations. Trying to understand the situation, and how a person is feeling at that very moment will provide you with the insight needed right now.

Be kind to each other even on crappy days. Applying sympathy and empathy is not just for patient care. It’s something we should be using in everyday life.

Please leave a comment for me. I will answer back .

Gain the Advantage!

Alicia Osmera

I Wrote A Book


The journey that led me to write comes from a deep passion for reading and writing.

I started writing this book in 2011 after getting laid off from my job with a DME (Durable Medical Equipment ) company after twenty-something years in the medical field as a licensed respiratory therapist.

What does a respiratory therapist do?

Respiratory Therapists are important to patients that have trouble breathing. Lung diseases like Asthma, Emphysema, and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) just to name a few. The main responsibilities are to keep patients breathing. They perform anything from a nebulizer treatment to administering a Bipap or CPAP therapy, as a major part of a person’s care in the intensive care unit.


Now, where was I? Oh, that’s right I was telling you about my journey to writing my first book, Terror In The North Tower. One day I sat down and just started typing on the computer. Words just seemed to flow onto the page. Then after about six months, they stopped. All in all, it took me a year to write this work of art. The writing wasn’t that hard, it was finding a publisher I could afford.

Publishers cost money!

Zondervan and Xulon Press are just a few that I checked into. They both said; “Oh yes, we can help you publish your book but it’s going to cost $$$ dollars”. I didn’t have that kind of money? Finally, after four years I had the opportunity to meet Monna Ellithorpe. She’s a member and co-founder of the Power Affiliate Club PAC and a published author herself.

What an amazing experience it has been working with the  Kindle platform.

What’s the book about?

It’s science fiction, murder mystery, and love story with a twist that the readers won’t see coming. This story’s main theme is about a respiratory therapist in a hospital setting. Many books like this one are written by a doctor or nurse, never by a respiratory therapist.

Now I want to make something very clear. This fictional thriller is just that. Fiction!!!

I love my profession as well as my peers. And the men and women that have a passion for it also.

***Terror In The North Tower was released on Saturday, May 28, 2016. Purchase the book here.

I hope that the person reading this blog post will order the book, read it, share this article, and spread the word.

Gain The Advantage!

Alicia Osmera

https://a.co/d/3UvpQBUhe North Tower https:/https:///a.co/d/1Pl5gx4