Emotional intelligence for Doctors

Becoming a doctor is not just about knowing the facts and treatments of a disease, it has a lot

to do with ones bedside manners and communication skills. Had only knowledge and skill been
the secret behind the success of doctors then every medical student who is at the top of his or

her class would have been the only famous and successful doctors.

That, however, is not what

we see. Even studies have shown that ones intelligence quotient (IQ) only accounts for about

20 percent of any persons success in his or her life. The rest 80 percent of a personas success

depends on the emotional intelligence of a person.

1-Emotional intelligence has been defined as the array of personal, emotional, and social

competencies that enable one to cope with environmental demands.

2-This study also measured the emotional intelligence of doctors by taking senior doctors and Post Graduate Medical Students (PGMS). The results showed a difference between each

groups emotional intelligence, with doctors lacking in emotional intelligence greatly.

Is it with

time that one deals with patients, faces so many issues that we forget or lose out on our

emotional intelligence or do we get desensitized? The lack emotional intelligence has also been

attributed to increased incidence of conflicts happening in hospitals and other health care

facilities as may be their emotions get blunted due to these reasons.

3- Similarly, when faced by some sorrow or depressing diagnosis like

cancer, or being a psychiatrist can also greatly affect the doctors own life if they are not

intelligent emotionally. This control often gets worn out with time, increased workload and

daily stresses.

So why is emotional intelligence important? Firstly, because it has been found that people with

high emotional intelligence have also been noted to be happier, successful and more satisfied

with their jobs than those who lack emotional intelligence.

2 Similarly, as emotional intelligence

brings mental stability, it helps make one better doctor.

A study made a very interesting find as it measured emotional intelligence present in medical

college applicants. The results actually showed that women tend to have more emotional

intelligence than men do.


4-While this should be made an essential part of a doctors life, very few focus on it, which is why

there should be reminders about it during meetings and conferences held in every department.

Lets make 80% of our lives successful too by meaning intelligent about our emotions! 


1. Singh S. Development of a measure of emotional intelligence. PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES-

UNIVERSITY OF CALICUT. 2004 Jan 1;49:136-41.

2. Hariharan M,Padhy M. Emotional intelligence of doctors. Social Science

International. 2011 Jan 1;27(1):15.

3. Ramsay M. A. E. (2001). Conflict in the health care workplace. Proceedings

(Baylor University. Medical Center), 14(2), 138–139.

4. Carrothers RM, Gregory Jr SW, Gallagher TJ. Measuring emotional intelligence of

medical school applicants. Academic Medicine. 2000 May 1;75(5):456-63.


Written by Dr. Aref Alabed ,