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Graduation Inspiration and Emotional Intelligence

Don’t you just love graduations?! I’ve only missed one PGH Department of Medicine graduation since 1999 and that was because I was sick. I go not only to wish the graduates well, but also to listen to the inspirational speaker. I need graduation inspiration too! That might surprise you since I’ve graduated 7 times already: grade school, high school, college (premed), medical school, internal medicine residency, endocrinology fellowship and masters in health informatics. But no, I haven’t had enough of graduations! I still get misty-eyed looking at the graduates. I still leave the hall galvanized by the inspirational speech. Year after year.


This year’s inspirational speech was given by my wedding ninang Dr. Coralie Dimacali. She talked about being a master internist. The acronym she used was LOVER. Below are quotes from her speech.

L – Listen and Learn.

Good doctors communicate effectively. Listen to your patients’ stories… Be a lifelong learner.

O – Offer compassionate care and demonstrate a lifelong commitment to serve

Medicine is a profession that demands altruism, a commitment to serve selflessly.

V – Value respect for others and be a good role model

Work together to improve the quality of care and access to care of your patients… Learn the art of collegiality and disagree without being confrontational.

E – Ethical practice and patient education

Integrity and humility are ideal characteristics of a physician… educate your patients about their disease and include them in decision making regarding their treatment.

R – Reflective practice and relaxation

Make reflection a daily activity…Humbly accept your limitations. Remember to spend some time in relaxation.

As you know I’ve taken on a challenge to blog everyday! Today, I also wanted to write about emotional intelligence. The #HCLDR tweet chat this week is about the role of logic and emotional intelligence in healthcare, with a wonderful pre-chat blog post written by Joe Babaian.

And so I asked myself – How much of being a master internist (as described by Dr. Dimacali) is attributable to emotional intelligence?

I looked up the five constructs of emotional intelligence (Daniel Goleman model) in Wikipedia and audited it against the characteristics of the master internist previously described.

1. Self-awareness – the ability to know one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.

This goes under R – reflective practice and relaxation. A good doctor knows when a referral to another colleague or a vacation is needed.

2. Self-regulation – involves controlling or redirecting one’s disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.

Does this go under L – listen and learn? Time is always limited for clinic visits. It takes self-regulation not to interrupt patients as they tell their stories, and even more to actively listen through one’s tiredness. It also takes self-regulation to keep learning through conferences or webinars and not give in to sleep!

3. Social skill – managing relationships to move people in the desired direction.

This goes under V – value respect for others and be a good role model. In PGH, working in teams is emphasized. When managing a patient, opinions of team members may differ. It takes social skill to resolve differences amicably.

4. Empathy – considering other people’s feelings especially when making a decision.

Definitely under E – ethical practice and patient education. When doctors help patients understand their illness, then the patients are able to more actively participate in making treatment decisions. And also O – offer compassionate care.

5. Motivation – being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement.

I think I will place this under O – offer compassionate care and demonstrate a lifelong commitment to serve. That is the motivation of a master internist.

Emotional intelligence is very much a part of being a master internist!




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