Written by Salako Faith
Interning with FNA

Emotional intelligence or emotional quotient is a term that broadly refers to the capability of an individual to evaluate his or her emotions and objectively use it to control the emotions of others in a positive manner.

It involves understanding the way people react, and make use of this understanding to avoid or solve problems and to handle interpersonal relationships in a prudent way.

Although, people hold it that intelligence quotient is more important for you to succeed, but studies have shown that individuals with high emotional intelligence tends to be more successful in their careers and even in life.

Emotional intelligence is an important phenomenon in nursing profession due to the multifaceted activities we perform, and the stressful environment in which we work to prevent burn out.

It is important as nurses that while we care for the physical ailments of our clients or patients, we do not neglect the psychological or emotional aspect of them, because this is what makes the care provided a balanced care.

Why Nurses Need Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is an innovative skill needed by nurses to:

  • Develop healthier nurse-client relationships

Paying attention to your emotional quotient as a nurse will help you to have a better experience while caring for your  patients. It is essential that a nurse is observant and able to understand the patient’s mood and feelings; either happy, sad, angry, or in pain. Having a better understanding of this, will help a nurse to know the kind of approach that will promote patient’s cooperation and improve his or her health.

  • Control emotions while under pressure

There are times a nurse will have to deal with difficult patients or work under difficult situations in an ever changing health care environment. Often times, when one get frustrated with some actions posed by some difficult patients and relatives, it is much likely you would tend to lash out at them or even ignore them at times. It takes a nurse with good emotional quotient to be able to thrive better in such situations, understand the way they feel, and see how to solve their problems.

  • Key to successful nursing leadership

Emotional intelligence is an important virtue for nurse leaders. Nurse leaders with high emotional intelligence tends to have a good verbal and social intelligence and are more open and approachable. This even have an influence on the subordinates because they will be motivated to work happily and satisfactorily to enhance patients’ care due to the kind of leader they work with.

Nursing leaders must be equipped with skills that will help them to meet with the task of the demands in the health care system.

  • Strike the balance between empathy and emotional attachment

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In nursing professsion, empathy is more encouraged often times as it involves having the capacity of understanding your patient’s feeling and devise a means of helping them out. Due to the nature of your work as a nurse and the kind of environment in which you work, there is tendency of getting emotionally attached to some patients, and give a preferential treatment which is not supposed to be.

A nurse should be empathetic, treat, and provide care objectively for patients, irrespective of who they are or the characters they exhibit.

  • Relationships with fellow colleagues and other health care workers

An interesting part of health care is that everyone works collaboratively to be able to achieve a successful outcome; no one does it all. A nurse might have to relate or work with some difficult professional colleagues and reach an agreement, or devise a plan of care for a patient. It takes understanding and emotional maturity to be able to accept them the way they are, understand their views, and see how you can work effectively with them to achieve a remarkable goal.

Emotional intelligence is a skill that must be adopted by all nurses for us to be successful in our career and to achieve the kind of health care we hope for.