This research aims to demonstrate the relationship among empathic tendencies, life satisfaction and professional self-esteem of the students of the Medical Faculty, Nursing and Health Vocational School. In addition, in this study, it was tried to determine whether there is a mediating role of professional self-esteem among the empathic tendency and life satisfaction of the students receiving health education. In our study, it is seen that the level of empathic tendency of the participants is high. When the studies on health workers and students were examined in the literature, empathic tendency levels were found high in the studies conducted with military nursing students in Turkey by Pazar et al. , with military medicine and nursing students by Özcan et al. , with nurses by Guven Ozdemir and Sendir , with nursing students in Italy by Ferri et al. , and with paramedics, nursing and midwifery students in Australia by Williams et al. . Studies show that students studying in the field of health have higher empathy levels than students in other fields . This situation makes us think that students who prefer the field of health probably have a certain ability and motivation to understand and conduct the relationship in a healthy way, which constitutes an important aspect of health care .
When students' life satisfaction levels are examined, it is seen that they are satisfied with their lives. When the studies in the literature were examined, life satisfaction levels were found to be high in the studies conducted with the students of medicine and dentistry in Saudi Arabia by Aboalshamat et al. , with medical students in China by Wang et al. , with nursing students in Korea by Kim . As individuals with high life satisfaction have a psychologically, socially and physically healthy life, high level of social functionality, more positive relationships in their social environments, a cognitive structure and productivity that are open to personal development, compatible with their lives , it is thought that the high level of life satisfaction of individuals in the health sector will have a positive impact on health services.
It is seen that students in our study have high levels of professional self-esteem. When literature review was done in this field, Similarly, professional self-esteem was found to be high in the studies performed with university students in Iran and Turkey by Khezerlo , in Pakistan by İqbal et al. , with the nursing students in China by Kim , with social workers and nursing students by Bekar et al. , with nursing students by Sarikoc and Kaplan . Healthcare professionals and students have a great responsibility for their roles in the healthcare industry. It is thought that having a positive feeling towards their profession and respecting their job will result in happy working life and therefore positively affect the provision of health services.
When the relationships between the variables in our study were analyzed, a positive significant relationship and effect were found between empathic tendency and life satisfaction. Research results are compatible with the literature [34,35]. In the study by Guler and Gazioglu , the variables predicting life satisfaction in university students were examined, and it was found that empathy was the variable that predicted life satisfaction the most. Yetim , emphasizes that when people develop a social relationship in which they develop a deep understanding of each other and complement each other harmoniously, they are happier and their life satisfaction is higher. Considering that the tendency of empathy in individuals is high, it is thought that the satisfaction they receive from life is more and better relationships can be developed .
In our study, a positive and significant relationship was found between empathic tendency and professional self-esteem. The results of the study are similar to the literatüre [39-41]. The health sector needs healthcare professionals who can empathize in order to maintain a healthy patient-healthcare relationship, to approach the patient with understanding, to understand and feel their lives and feelings. Therefore, it is evaluated that students who will lead this sector in the future by studying in the field of health are people with high empathic tendency and they make their career choices in this direction and respect their profession.
In our study, a positive significant relationship and effect were found between professional self-esteem and life satisfaction. Study findings are similar to previous studies [42-44]. Choosing a profession is one of the important and critical decisions in life. After choosing the profession, the individual receives years of education about his/her profession, spends energy and effort to be successful, and gains knowledge and skills related to the profession's subtleties. The health worker does not only earn a living in the work environment, but also gains happiness from his work, provides psychological satisfaction, acquires a respectable place in the society, and provides satisfaction by applying his effort, knowledge, skill and ability to his work. Therefore, respecting and loving healthcare professionals will increase the satisfaction they will receive from life .
Finally, the mediating role of professional self-esteem in the relationship between empathic tendency and life satisfaction was examined in our study, and the statistical data obtained showed that the established model confirmed this hypothesis, that professional self-esteem had an intermediary role between empathic tendency and life satisfaction. In the established model, it was observed that the significant effect of empathic tendency on life satisfaction decreased when the professional self-esteem came into play. This data indicates that professional self-esteem plays a “partial” mediation role and shows that it is an important predictor of life satisfaction. It is concluded that empathic tendency and professional self-esteem are two important factors that affect life satisfaction and that these factors should also be increased in order to increase life satisfaction. In the literature review, no other study examining the relationships between the relevant variables in the same setup (a mechanism) was found.