Faculty Emotional Intelligence Matters for Resident Education

J Surg Educ. Sep-Oct 2020;77(5):1132-1137. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2020.03.019. Epub 2020 Jun 7.


Objective: This study aimed to determine the emotional intelligence (EI) of surgical faculty and evaluate its relationship with resident evaluations of faculty behaviors.

Design: This study retrospectively collected faculty EI scores as well as general surgery resident evaluations of faculty. Parametric and nonparametric tests were used for statistical analysis.

Setting: The study was conducted at the University of Texas Southwestern in the Department of Surgery in Dallas, Texas. This is an academic, tertiary care center.

Participants: Surgical faculty members at a single institution in 2018 completed the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal, a 28-item, electronic assessment with possible scores ranging from zero to 100. Aggregate, anonymous resident evaluations of faculty members were collected from the program director's office. Faculty with fewer than 8 resident evaluations were excluded.

Results: In total, 59 faculty members participated (89%). The sample was mostly white (69.2%), male (63.5%), with an average of 47 ± 10 years of age, 12.2 ± 10 years in practice, and 44 ± 24 evaluations per faculty member. The group's mean EI score was 76 ± 7.7. Faculty EI scores were found to have a moderate, positive correlation with resident rotational evaluations of faculty (r(51) = 0.52, p < 0.001). Faculty EI scores did not significantly correlate with resident evaluations of faculty intraoperative behaviors.

Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that a majority of our faculty are competent with regard to EI. Furthermore, faculty EI is an important factor in the clinical learning environment and correlates with resident rotational evaluations of teaching behaviors.

Keywords: clinical teaching; communication skills; emotional intelligence; resident education; surgical education; surgical residency.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Competence
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Faculty
  • Faculty, Medical
  • General Surgery* / education
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Texas
  • Young Adult