Physician Staffing Blog

Career Insights

White Paper: Physicians and Emotional Intelligence

February 23, 2018

White Paper: Physicians and Emotional Intelligence

By: Derek Klein

In 2015, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) expanded to include questions that focus on the psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior. The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) made this addition in hopes of enhancing patient-centered care through improved physician empathy and communication skills.

Since then, healthcare facilities have implemented new programs to train and develop physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, and other health professionals on emotional intelligence (EQ). These new initiatives have resulted in an improved patient experience for  hospital patients and patients of other medical facilities. With higher physician emotional intelligence, healthcare institutions have experienced greater patient satisfaction, better adherence to treatment protocols, and improved clinical outcomes (JAMA Otolaryngology).

Healthcare leaders have recognized that higher physician emotional intelligence is not only crucial to improving the patient experience, but also the physician experience. Higher EQ has prompted a reduction in medical errors, staff turnover, and physician burnout. Increased empathy has resulted in improved teamwork, communication, and physician leadership (World Psychiatry).

As physician practice styles and compensation continue to evolve toward quality and “experiential” models , the emotional intelligence of physicians will only become more important. The quality measures typically seen in these models include metrics such as patient satisfaction and adherence to treatment protocols. Healthcare facilities with programs designed to develop and foster healthcare-specific emotional intelligence have demonstrated improvement in these measures with their physicians.

In addition, the population health management model relies on primary care physicians who coordinate patient care by managing a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians. Population health requires close cooperation and communication between various stakeholders, including hospitals, primary care physicians, medical specialists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, therapists, social workers, labs and others that historically have operated in silos in the U.S. healthcare system. Achieving this level of cooperation will be difficult, but with increased EQ training programs, physicians will be better able to lead this diverse team.

Merritt Hawkins has completed a new white paper entitled Physician Recruiting and Emotional Intelligence: Going Beyond IQ and “Type A” Personalities that explores issues of physician emotional intelligence and what this trend means to physician recruiting and the implementation of new delivery models.     

At the end of the day, physicians want to connect with their patients and improve their condition. The old paradigm of recruiting was to find the top “producers” who would generate the most volume. In today’s new paradigm, finding top “nurturers” rather than “producers” may be the new model for success.

To download the white paper click here


Specialty Spotlight Hospitalist Merritt Hawkins
Career Insights

Medical Specialty Spotlight: Hospitalist

Orthopedic Surgery Trends and Salaries
Career Insights

Medical Specialty Spotlight: Orthopedic Surgery

Career Insights

Why Physicians Should Consider Working for the VA - Part 1


Get the best of Merritt Hawkins in your inbox
Get these newsletter delivered to your inbox, and more info about our jobs and opportunities. Privacy Policy