Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Medical Education and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Emotional intelligence assessment in a graduate entry medical school curriculum

Eva M Doherty1*, Patricia A Cronin2 and Gozie Offiah2

Author Affiliations

1 National Surgical Training Centre & Graduate Medical School, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 121, St Stephens Green, Dublin 2, Ireland

2 Graduate Medical School, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Ballymoss Road, Sandyford Industrial Estate, Dublin 18, Ireland

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Medical Education 2013, 13:38  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-38

Published: 7 March 2013

Abstract

Background

The management of emotions in the workplace is a skill related to the ability to demonstrate empathic behaviour towards patients; to manage emotional reactions in oneself and to lead others as part of a team. This ability has been defined as emotional intelligence (EI) and doctor’s EI may be related to communication skills and to patient satisfaction levels. This study reports on the use of two assessments of EI as part of a course on Personal and Professional Development (PPD) in a graduate medical school curriculum.

Methods

Fifty one graduate entry medical students completed an eight session course on PPD between December 2005 and January 2006. Students completed two measures of EI: self-report (EQ-i) and ability (MSCEIT V2.0) over a two year study period. The data gathered were used to explore the relationship between self-report and ability EI and between EI and student demographics, academic performance and change over time.

Results

Analysis of the EI data demonstrated that self-report EI did not change over time and was not related to ability EI. Females scored higher than males on a number of self-report and ability EI scores. Self-reported self-awareness was found to deteriorate in males and females over time. High self-reported EI was found to be associated with poor performance on clinical competency assessments but with good performance on a number of bio-medical knowledge based assessments.

Conclusions

This report concludes that assessments of EI can be incorporated into a medical school curriculum as part of a PPD programme and that the concept of EI may be associated with performance in medical school.

Keywords:
Emotional intelligence (EI); Empathy; Gender; Curriculum