The importance of emotional intelligence (EI) in physicians has attracted attention as researchers begin to focus on the relationship of EI to retention, promotion, and productivity among academic physicians. However, to date, no formal evaluation of EI has been conducted among current department chairs. The objectives of this study were to assess the EI of current chairs of academic radiation oncology departments and to correlate EI with a self-reported assessment of burnout.EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The authors invited 95 chairs of academic radiation oncology departments to participate in a survey, approved by an institutional review board, consisting of the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire Short Form (TEIQue-SF) and the abbreviated Maslach Burnout Inventory (a-MBI). TEIQue-SF scores were evaluated for correlation with respondents’ demographics and self-reported burnout scores on the a-MBI. Sixty chairs responded to the survey, for a response rate of 63.2%. The median (interquartile range) TEIQue-SF for the responding cohort was 172 (155–182) out of a maximum possible score of 210. The a-MBI emotional exhaustion and depersonalization subscores were low, with median (interquartile range) scores of 4 (2.25–6.75) and 1 (0–2.75) out of maximum possible scores of 18 and 30, respectively. Higher TEIQue-SF global scores were weakly correlated with decreased burnout. The study results show that academic radiation oncology chairs had a high EI and low rates of self-reported burnout. EI may be of increasing importance with respect to recruitment and retention of academic medical leaders.