How do surgeons manage their emotional intelligence?

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence; it is the capacity of the individual to be aware of his own and others’ emotions and to use his emotions in social relations, and it is a situation that emerges with the interaction between emotion (emotion) and cognition (Schutte et al., 2006:1). In general, four sub-headings are noteworthy regarding this concept. These; it is the ability to perceive one’s own emotions, the ability to perceive the emotions of others, the ability to manage their own emotions and finally the emotions of others (Humphrey, 2001:495). The concept of emotional intelligence in healthcare workers is of great importance. Because these professions require direct communication with patients and the service can only be provided with teamwork, the ability to use emotional intelligence comes to the fore (McQueen, 2004:101). ( So how do surgeons manage their emotional intelligence?

What are the emotional states encountered in surgery?

Surgical; while it is an action that can save the patient or organ; it is a paradox that is also experienced as an act that can kill. This creates the threat of complications in every aspect of surgeons’ lives. This is specific to surgery only. Surgeons participating in research; they agree that ‘Surgeon’s life is full of complications’. (

The complexity of surgery starts with meeting the patient, covers preoperative, operative time and post-surgery; it covers a large process.

Before surgery; it is the process of informing patients about the risks of the operation. Therefore, surgeons try to balance the benefits and risks of the intervention with the patient, or to make things right. Sometimes the patients who come with different ideas; they may have to convince by managing the patient-physician relationship about the operation they can do. Indecision can create fatigue, as surgical decision making is indeed a subjective balance between them. During the operation; If the case is difficult, the surgeon pushes his limits to the end for the case to survive. If he/she identifies with the patient, he/she may experience internal distress and have to keep other team members away from emotionally charged situations. In particular, the noise of the working environment of orthopedic surgery can turn into a phenomenon that increases and tires the emotional pressure felt.

They may remain under the pressure of the corporate world in which they work before and after surgery. In the postoperative period, surgeons feel compelled to consider patient morbidity and mortality meetings.Considering all the situations that surgeons are exposed to; the emotions they experience; anxiety, fear, distress, accountability, and guilt. Emotional states that arise as a result of any negative situation; affects the relationships of surgeons  with their patients, their families, or colleagues.

Besides all these feelings; the gap between surgeons and the environment in which they work can reinforce feelings of loneliness.

Besides all these feelings; the gap between surgeons and the work environment  can reinforce feelings of their loneliness.

In how many main titles is emotional competence defined?

Goleman (2005: 36) defines 5 main emotional competencies in his Emotional Intelligence Model, in which he defines emotional intelligence competencies:

  1. Self-awareness (being aware of one’s own emotions),
  2. Ability to manage emotions (manage one’s own emotions),
  3. Empathy (understanding the feelings of others),
  4. Ability to motivate oneself (self-activation)
  5. Social skills (managing relationships).

Considering the researches that are the subject of the article; It was concluded that surgeons manage their emotional intelligence in the following way.

* With the awareness that the surgery is a technical action; they develop self-awareness.
* They manage their emotions by realizing that what is technically possible is done in negative cases.

* They empathize, knowing that they are the only active actors in the ambiguous drama that can result in life or death (success or failure).

* They motivate themselves by pushing the limits of the “surgical indication” as a way of offering their patients a chance and that surgery is the only cure.
* With Social Skills, they carry out patient-physician relations in confidence. (

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