Roger Daglius Dias, MD, PhD, MBA

Measuring and Improving Emotional Intelligence in Surgery: A Systematic Review


Joanne G Abi-Jaoudé, Lauren R Kennedy-Metz, Roger D Dias, Steven J Yule, and Marco A Zenati. 2022. “Measuring and Improving Emotional Intelligence in Surgery: A Systematic Review.” Ann Surg, 275, 2, Pp. e353-e360.


OBJECTIVE: Evaluate how emotional intelligence (EI) has been measured among surgeons and to investigate interventions implemented for improving EI. SUMMARY BACKGROUND: EI has relevant applications in surgery given its alignment with nontechnical skills. In recent years, EI has been measured in a surgical context to evaluate its relationship with measures such as surgeon burnout and the surgeon-patient relationship. METHODS: A systematic review was conducted by searching MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PSYCINFO databases using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. MeSH terms and keywords included “emotional intelligence,” “surgery,” and “surgeon.” Eligible studies included an EI assessment of surgeons, surgical residents, and/or medical students within a surgical context. RESULTS: The initial search yielded 4627 articles. After duplicate removal, 4435 articles were screened by title and abstract and 49 articles proceeded to a full-text read. Three additional articles were found via hand search. A total of 37 articles were included. Studies varied in surgical specialties, settings, and outcome measurements. Most occurred in general surgery, residency programs, and utilized self-report surveys to estimate EI. Notably, EI improved in all studies utilizing an intervention. CONCLUSIONS: The literature entailing the intersection between EI and surgery is diverse but still limited. Generally, EI has been demonstrated to be beneficial in terms of overall well-being and job satisfaction while also protecting against burnout. EI skills may provide a promising modifiable target to achieve desirable outcomes for both the surgeon and the patient. Future studies may emphasize the relevance of EI in the context of surgical teamwork.

Last updated on 04/19/2022