Blog Part 3

Physician Wellness Series Part 3: Boosting Emotional Intelligence

Cortney Ikpe

The conclusion of our three-part physician wellness series will focus on the concept of emotional intelligence, and how this can be used to help physicians avoid burnout in their practices. Emotional intelligence is defined as ‘the ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others and to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships,’ according to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. Emotional intelligence has been said to improve stress management skills, prevent burnout and promote wellness for physicians. 

A recent Loyola Medicine study found that integrating emotional intelligence education into residents’ curriculum significantly improved their ability to manage stress and be more resilient. The 20 participants were asked to complete an emotional intelligence survey before and after going through the training, which included didactic teaching, discussions, and videos. The training used in the study focused on four major aspects of emotional intelligence:

  • Self-awareness (being aware of one’s emotions)
  • Self-management (ability to manage one’s emotional reactions to situations and people)
  • Social awareness (ability to pick up emotions in others)
  • Social skills

The survey results were drastically improved for all of the physicians who underwent the emotional intelligent training. "Our emotional intelligence curriculum may serve as a prototype for other residency programs that are developing their own approaches to promoting wellness and preventing burnout in their trainees," Drs. Shahid, Stirling and Adams wrote. 

Boosting emotional intelligence could significantly improve how physicians handle burnout and work-related stress. If medical practices began to develop emotional intelligence training, like the program developed in the Loyola study, it could help physicians develop better self-management skills and coping mechanisms. The authors of the study found that it would also be beneficial to incorporate this kind of curriculum into education in medical schools, so that up-and-coming doctors will be better prepared as they enter the field. And for already burned-out physicians (which includes nearly half of all doctors in America), there is hope, because unlike IQ, emotional intelligence can be taught. 

Throughout our three-part physician wellness series, we have discussed a variety of ways to combat the widespread epidemic of physician burnout. These strategies included using medical scribes, seeking out physician wellness programs, and developing emotional intelligence skills. These are just three of the many ways we can take step to improve physicians’ mental and emotional health as we move forward. At Resolve, we are dedicated to empowering physicians in their career choices. We work to find the best jobs for our clients, and ensure that their employment contracts are transparent and negotiate on the physician’s behalf. Through our wide array of career services, we can help physicians obtain the career they deserve. To get started today, call 1-877-758-3318.