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Emotional intelligence (EI) is about understanding and recognising your own emotions and those
around you. As the medical field is very technical, there’s a growing need for doctors to know how to
connect at an emotional level with patients and colleagues.

EI is at the core of who we are. Each aspect of your life is touched by an emotion: how we handle our
responses to situations where emotions can influence the outcomes based on our decisions.

Patients, in particular, need someone they can relate to and trust. Patient care requires doctors to
not only treat the medical condition but also to be empathetic to how the patient is feeling.

EI is necessary for fostering effective communication, improving team dynamics, and enhancing
patient care. It reflects a broader shift in medicine where interpersonal skills are highly valued.

This article reviews what EI is and how critical it is for medical job interviews.

Key elements of emotional intelligence

EI comprises several key components:

If you’re in a leadership role or planning to move into leadership, EI is required. It helps you
communicate better with each team member and build stronger relationships with them on a
personal level.

Do you know how people perceive you? Are you approachable, understanding, and a listener? How
do you deal with conflicts and disagreements within your team?

Navigating emotional intelligence in medical interviews

There is now a significant focus on EI in medical job interviews. Interviewers know you have the
clinical skills (you wouldn’t be interviewing if you didn’t), and you’re now required to answer EI-
focused questions.
How do you show you have EI skills? Can you think of specific situations with patients or colleagues
where you can demonstrate these skills? If you can’t, you’re at a real disadvantage at interviews.

The following strategies can help:

Interviewers want to know that you have well-rounded skills, which means a combination of clinical,
leadership and EI. They want doctors who care enough to understand what their patients are
experiencing. They want leaders who will be someone the team members will respect.

The path forward with emotional intelligence

If you’re someone who isn’t comfortable getting to know people at an emotional level or struggles
to separate being professional and empathetic, then I have good news. EI is a skill that you can learn.
Once you’ve acquired these skills, your confidence will increase overall, and you’ll find it easier to
make informed decisions.

Your relationships with your patients and team members will significantly improve. And, of course,
your chances of getting the role you apply for will be higher.
EI is a skill that continually evolves with each relationship we encounter. I encourage you to seek
ongoing development of EI for your professional advancement and personal growth.
If you want help with interview preparation, contact Anita for details.

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