Management + Leadership

How emotional intelligence improves patient interactions and outcomes

Dentistry is more than fixing teeth and treating the oral cavity. It is a profession that requires the intellect and skills to treat and interact with patients. It requires making important decisions based not only on a patient’s current health status, but also on their uniqueness and identity.

We know the saying, “Don’t treat the problem, treat the person,” but why? What is the link between interpersonal interactions and the success of patient outcomes?

Psychologist and “Emotional Intelligence” author Daniel Goleman, who is co-director of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations at Rutgers University, says, “If you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.” Although clinical competency and technical skills are important in dentistry, emotional intelligence also plays a key role.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to recognize, understand, and manage their own feelings and emotions along with the diverse needs and expectations of others. EI is an important principle in relieving stress, overcoming challenges, communicating effectively, building stronger relationships, and achieving both career and personal goals. It includes turning intention into action and making informed decisions about what matters most. EI contains five dominant attributes: self-awareness, self-management, intrinsic
motivation, empathy, and social skills, according to the May 2018 issue of Behavioral Sciences.

Finish reading this article in the May 2022 issue of Contour magazine.

~Rita Rizkala, Ohio ’23

Rita Rizkala

Rita Rizkala is a student at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, graduating in 2023.

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