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Emotional intelligence (EI) is an increasingly important aspect of a health professional’s skill set. It is strongly associated with empathy, reflection and resilience; all key aspects of radiotherapy practice. Previous work in other disciplines has formed contradictory conclusions concerning development of EI over time. This study aimed to determine the extent to which EI can develop during a radiotherapy undergraduate course and identify factors affecting this.
Methods and materials
This study used anonymous coded Likert-style surveys to gather longitudinal data from radiotherapy students relating to a range of self-perceived EI traits during their 3-year degree. Data were gathered at various points throughout the course from the whole cohort.
A total of 26 students provided data with 14 completing the full series of datasets. There was a 17·2% increase in self-reported EI score with a p-value<0·0001. Social awareness and relationship skills exhibited the greatest increase in scores compared with self-awareness. Variance of scores decreased over time; there was a reduced change in EI for mature students who tended to have higher initial scores. EI increase was most evident immediately after clinical placements.
Radiotherapy students increase their EI scores during a 3-year course. Students reported higher levels of EI immediately after their clinical placement; radiotherapy curricula should seek to maximise on these learning opportunities.
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