Emotional Intelligence and Unionization in Nursing

Emotional intelligence (EI) is an important aspect of successful management. However, despite the growing recognition and adoption in professional development, it remains a relatively obscure aspect of leadership. The following paper provides a detailed analysis of emotional intelligence assessment and outlines the strategies for EI development.

In order to determine the need for enhancement of emotional intelligence, it is necessary to conduct monitoring of one’s current skill level. The following paper is based on the results obtained from a free online tool provided by Greater Good Science Center (n.d.). The tool calculates the ability of the participant to correctly identify as many emotions as possible. The results are measured via a single true-false score, with 20 being the best possible outcome.

After undergoing the test, I have received 18 out of 20 results, characterized as “impressive.” According to the description, I have a strong ability to recognize the emotions and feelings of other people, which is both a useful professional trait and a desirable personal feature. The results also point to the fact that the identified level can be increased through training and practice and suggests using a training tool designed for the purpose.

Both the assessment procedure and the obtained results require further discussion. First, the results are far higher than my intuitive self-assessment and previous social experience. Simply put, I find myself much less capable of emotion recognition than suggested by the score. An 18/20 result presupposes the ability to correctly identify emotion in nine situations out of ten, which does not sound like a realistic result to me. The most probable reason for the discrepancy in the results is the fairly limited scope of the assessment. In its current form, the test uses facial expressions and, to a lesser degree, body language, as key parameters responsible for the overall EI performance. Facial expressions are an important indicator of the psychological and emotional state of an individual and are widely used in a range of disciplines as relatively well-established metrics (Trivella, Gerogiannis, & Svarna, 2013). Nevertheless, I consider such an approach to be prohibitively one-sided and the obtained results sufficient for getting a sense of direction in the domain of emotional intelligence evaluation but inadequate as a reliable testing procedure.

Despite the high score, I can point to several strategies and techniques that are expected to improve my EI capacity. First, I find emotional self-reflection a useful approach. By analyzing the emotions experienced on a daily basis and determining their principal causes, it becomes possible to predict the reactions of other individuals with greater precision and reliability (Van der Linden, Tsaousis, & Petrides, 2012). In addition, such skill allows addressing the emotional issues more efficiently. Second, it is recommended to incorporate empathy as a component in the EI assessment. Empathy is often considered unreliable due to the fact that it is based on emotion rather than hard evidence and thus compromises the validity of results. Nevertheless, it is impossible to ignore the fact that empathy also aligns the emotional state of the leader with that of its audience, which constitutes a significant advantage in terms of communication and comprehension.

In addition, it is useful for obtaining an alternative perspective on the problem and, by extension, facilitate trust with the impacted individuals. Third, the level of social skills needs to match the EI level in order to achieve the desired results. For instance, superior communication skills (e.g. the ability to establish an emotional connection with the individual and support meaningful conversations) are important both for sustaining a healthy professional climate and for gaining the upper hand in negotiations by finding feasible solutions without disrupting trust and creating the perception of dishonesty. Finally, taking the context into account is particularly important to EI development. As was mentioned above, facial expressions provide a reasonably accurate but incomplete picture of the person’s emotional state. In addition, many of the details and interpretation aspects depend on a complex combination of factors that cannot be conclusively summarized and are to be acknowledged individually and with an understanding of subtle details.

It is also important to recognize the fact that some people may have the emotional intelligence that is not as strong as mine or is sufficiently different to undermine understanding. The most feasible strategy for dealing with them would be the gradual development of their emotional awareness by promoting trust and comfort in communication until the desired level of understanding is achieved. When the time restrictions do not allow for such an approach, it is possible to tackle the issue directly whenever it is permissible by the context.

Emotional intelligence provides a host of opportunities for leaders in the workplace. In order to maximize its positive impact, it is recommended to adopt strategies intended for its improvement. The strategies suggested in the paper are expected to enhance the professional leader qualities and improve overall social and psychological well-being.

Unionization

The issue of unionization is a controversial topic in the field of professional nursing. Despite the evident implications of professional gains, it remains a watershed element in the discussion of nursing values. The following paper details the issues associated with unionization and analyzes the experience using a real-life example and a hypothetical situation of transitioning to a position that forbids membership in a collective bargaining unit.

Unionization is a polarizing topic, primarily due to the lack of agreement on its alignment with the values of the nursing profession. Nursing is viewed by many as a destination taken only by individuals with a strong commitment to the delivery of quality care to the patients (Marquis & Huston, 2015). From this standpoint, the economic considerations posed by unions appear to be of secondary priority (Manthous, 2014). However, I find this view oversimplified. Strong economic and labor bases are necessary for the adequate functioning of a healthcare unit and, by extension, favorable patient outcomes (Johnson & Billingsley, 2014). In other words, unionization is an important component of long-term improvement of care quality on a strategic level.

While I have never had a chance to work in a unionized setting, I can suggest a number of requirements that I would probably encounter. First, I will be expected to actively participate in negotiating contracts and employment terms, including the situations where it is not directly relevant to me. Next, I will need to support efforts to improve the regulatory and legal aspects of the nursing environment. Finally, I may be required to indirectly support the agendas that I do not agree with for the sake of the common good.

A transition to a position that forbids membership in a collective bargaining unit creates two main areas of concern that need to be acknowledged. On the one hand, while many of the negotiation rights are retained, I will enjoy less protection from the punitive actions of the employer, such as retaliation for participation in the protest. On the other hand, the transition makes it possible to negotiate the terms on an individual basis and gain autonomy from the agreement ratified by the union.

Conclusion

As can be seen, unionization creates a range of issues that require a shift in approach to labor management. Therefore, in order to become an effective union member, it is recommended to review the scope of responsibilities and assess the capacity for individual decision-making. With these recommendations on hand, it is reasonable to expect significant gains associated with the practice.

References

Greater Good Science Center. (n.d.). Test your emotional intelligence. Web.

Johnson, J. E., & Billingsley, M. (2014). Convergence: How nursing unions and magnet are advancing nursing. Nursing Forum, 49(4), 225–232.

Manthous, C. A. (2014). Labor unions in medicine: The intersection of patient advocacy and self–advocacy. Medical Care, 52(5), 387–392.

Marquis, B. L., & Huston, C. J. (2015). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Trivella, P., Gerogiannis, V., & Svarna, S. (2013). Exploring Workplace Implications of Emotional Intelligence (WLEIS) in hospitals: Job satisfaction and turnover intentions. Procedia–Social and Behavioral Sciences 73(27), 701–709.

Van der Linden, D., Tsaousis, I., & Petrides, K. V. (2012). Overlap between general factors of personality in the Big Five, Giant Three, and trait emotional intelligence. Personality and Individual Differences, 53(3), 175–179.