CONTEXT Previous studies have suggested that there is a positive correlation between doctors' emotional intelligence (EI) and patients' trust in their attending physicians; however, there is only limited evidence of specialty differences between internists and surgeons for such an association. OBJECTIVES This study examined the association of nursing director assessments of doctors' EI, outside observer assessments of doctors' health care climate (HCC) in the examining room and patient-rated trust in internists and surgeons. Health care climate refers to a key component in communication and reflects the extent to which patients perceive their health care providers as supporting patient autonomy rather than controlling the provision of treatment. METHODS In this observational study, 2702 patients seen by 110 internists and 2642 patients seen by 101 surgeons were surveyed in face-to-face interviews by trained nurses in two teaching hospitals in Taiwan. Using hierarchical linear modelling, we examined the association between EI and HCC as well as patient trust in doctors working in the specialties of internal medicine and surgery. RESULTS We found a significantly positive correlation between doctor EI and patient trust for all patients (p<0.01). In addition, although HCC was positively associated with patient trust for internists (p<0.01), it was not so for surgeons. CONCLUSIONS We conclude that doctors might benefit from training programmes aimed at improving EI and that differences in patient expectations might be considered when hospitals attempt to evaluate doctors in different specialties.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes