Emotional intelligence in neurosurgery: Mitigating burnout and enhancing performance

Albert Alan, Michelle Ennabe, Neil Joshi, Martin Weinand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: This study underscores the high burnout rates among physicians, particularly surgical residents, attributing it to the demanding health-care ecosystem. It highlights the negative impacts of burnout, such as medical errors and increased health-care costs, while exploring the potential mitigating role of emotional intelligence (EI) and mindfulness. The research aimed to analyze the existing literature on EI in neurosurgery, focusing on its relationship with physician burnout and its potential role in healthcare leadership and residency training programs. Methods: A comprehensive literature review was conducted using multiple databases, including PubMed, OVID Embase, and OVID Medline, using the keywords “Emotional Intelligence” and “neurosurgery.” The search duration spanned from each database’s inception to June 2023. Results: The review highlighted various studies emphasizing the importance of integrating EI and mindfulness training into medical education and leadership, suggesting that a balance between technical competencies and interpersonal skills are critical. It identified personal integrity, effective communication, professional ethics, pursuit of excellence, relationship building, and critical thinking as key competencies for health-care leadership. Conclusion: EI and a growth mindset play a critical role in managing burnout, enhancing job satisfaction and performance, and promoting effective healthcare leadership. The review, however, acknowledges certain limitations such as small sample sizes, single-institution experiences, potential biases, and inconsistencies in burnout parameters and EI measurement tools. Despite these, it points toward potential areas for future investigation and highlights the importance of standardized EI measurement tools and robust quantitative assessment methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number326
JournalSurgical Neurology International
StatePublished - Sep 15 2023


  • Emotional intelligence
  • Health-care leadership
  • Mindfulness training
  • Neurosurgical leadership
  • Physician burnout

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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