Emotional Intelligence

It is appalling that our technology exceeds our humanity. 

                                                                                                                                                                Albert Einstein


Emotional intelligence and doctors

Emotional intelligence and handling stress

Emotional intelligence and patient satisfaction

Handling stress

Stress in medical students

Empathy: Taking time

Should doctors cry?

Doctors' empathy reduces patients' stress

Movies to teach medical students empathy

Emotional intelligence


Issues of emotional maturity, self-awareness, and personal well-being remain critical to success in the practice of medicine as in other fields. Emotional intelligence is about empathy, handling relationships, managing emotions, and self awareness. These attributes are important for every medical student. Epstein et al described its components such as active listening on the part of the physician, responding to patients’ emotions, physician self-awareness, and respect for individuals. These components are similar to the domains that are currently being investigated as constituting non-cognitive intelligence, i.e., “emotional intelligence” (EI).




Empathy is the feeling relationship in which the physician understands the patient's plight as if the physician were the patient. The physician identifies with the patient and at the same time maintains a distance. Empathetic communication enhances the therapeutic effectiveness of the clinician-patient relationship.



Handling stress

Doctors in training face death, disability, pain, and depression every day. Even if they use the white coat as protection, underneath a feeling person has to find a way to cope with the distress that patients bring. Of course, one can ignore these issues—for example, many doctors bury themselves in work—and medical culture tends to encourage this approach. Tragically, this mentality can lead to sudden heart attack or other serious illness. Other dysfunctional ways to cope include resorting to alcohol and other drugs.



The proportion of doctors and other health professionals showing above-threshold levels of stress has stayed remarkably constant at around 28%, whether the studies are cross sectional or longitudinal, compared with around 18% in the general working population (BMJ). What has changed over the years is that doctors have become used to discussing the topic of stress and even to admitting to it in themselves. They are more aware of their colleagues' symptoms than they were earlier, which means that they may be more likely to help colleagues through a difficult time or suggest they get help when they need it.

One may work in an environment where “real doctors get on with the job and only the weak weep or feel distressed.” This pressure to deny emotions can have a profound effect on one’s health. We need to move from this culture to one where medical students and doctors can openly share emotions and ask for help.




Overview of the learning process

Questions posed

Communication skills

Scientific temper

Interpersonal Skills

Emotional Intelligence

Leadership and teamwork


Service Orientation

Assessment of Non-scholastic abilities

Dialogue and discussion by the Chatterati!

Summary-Emotional intelligence



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