Nursing: Emotional Intelligence and Job Performance

Specific aims

Emotional intelligence, according to John D. Mayer, (2011) is the use of emotions in critical thinking. Through this process, one is able to perceive, access and generate emotions to aid in thinking. In the so doing, one is able to regulate the reflection of emotions to promote their intellectual growth. Consequently, it is the emotional intelligence that gives people the power to think and reason properly when faced with different situations under unique circumstances. Further more, emotional intelligence relates to one’s self-control against criticism, their self-encouragement and an understanding of other people’s emotions. The work place is one of the places that emotional intelligence plays a critical role. Each work that one engages in requires the use of emotional intelligence. This proposal explores the relationship between emotional intelligence and job performance among nursing staff.

As has been stated above, the proposal aims at determining a relationship that exists between emotional intelligence and job performance among nursing staff. Given that the term emotional intelligence has already been defined, the next task is determining how to find out the relationship. Numerous studies have been carried out to find out the relationship that exists between emotional intelligence and job performance among nurses. The proposal aims to add knowledge to an already existing body emotional intelligence and job performance. In so doing, a number of research questions have to be tested. These questions are:

  1. How does emotional intelligence affect the job performance among nursing staff?
  2. What are the key indicators of emotional intelligence?
  3. What factors affect emotional intelligence among nurses?

Significance and Background

Problem Statement

Nurses work in extremely challenging environments. They deal with issues of life and death in their day to day operations. Normally, it is the nurses who spent most time with patients. This is in comparison with other health care providers. Consequently, the work that these nurses perform directly influences the patient outcomes. As a result, it is imperative to consider all the factors that could have an effect on nursing as a career. Whereas other physicians are involved in making medical diagnoses, nurses only to do an assessment of the patients and make their observations in the form of a report to the physicians. In this case, the nurses are not supposed to interpretations on the report.

Argument for the Study

According to Alam and Mohammad (2009), there are times when nurses take on responsibilities of other physicians like doctors. In this case, they act as supervisors or doctors in command. By so doing, they become a critical part of our medical system. One thing that is worthy mentioning here is that nurses are at times under paid and undervalued in their profession. This is despite the fact that they play a vital role in medical care profession. This brings about the issue of motivation. How are these nurses, if underpaid and undervalued, going to perform their duties properly? If they are underpaid and undervalued, why do they still they remain their professions under such conditions? Properly, it is because they do have a passion for the job they do.

On the other hand, Rego et al, suggests that nurses are able to do all this because of emotional intelligence. According to them, it is the emotional intelligence that enable nurses develop a good rapport with patients. In this case, emotional intelligence is vital in the nourishing, building and sustaining emotional labor required by nurses in their daily interactions with patients. Thus, offering care to a patient is not only about the practical bit of it but rather the human recipient is critical. Realizing and appreciating the fact that modern health care systems are complex is the first step in understanding the role of emotional intelligence. Nurses do need the interpersonal and intrapersonal skills to cope with such a demanding profession. Rego et al argues that such skills enhance the well being of a patient, other than the positive economic consequences which are evident. Further more, these skills are essential in aiding nurses to cope with the day to day stress of their clinical practice.

Consequently, such nurses, who display emotional intelligence in their work, perform better than their counterparts. For instance, it is said that such a nurse with higher emotional intelligence show a strong self-awareness. Additionally, they display higher levels of interpersonal skills as earlier highlighted. In performing their duties, these nurses are able to show empathy to situations. More so, a nurse with higher emotional intelligence adapt easily to different situations. When it comes to connecting with the patients, nurses with higher emotional intelligence are at an advantage. The connection is vital in helping patients meet their emotional needs immediately. Given that such a nurse can see things from the perspective of a patient, they can understand them easily. At this juncture, satisfying the needs of such patients is easy. Thus, the performance of such nurses is improved.

Conventionally, people’s expectations are that fellow who are cognitively smart do form the best performers on technical matters. This is according to Sergio (2009). Cognitive smartness is associated with one’s IQ. However, Sergio states that earlier studies show that it is people with high emotional intelligence who are good when it comes to the performance of various duties. From such people who apply their interpersonal skills in various functions. For instance, in getting information from people, to assist in problem solving and such people are generally liked by others they interact with. For nurses, these skills are critical in solving the problems of patients. Thus, it becomes imperative for nurses to possess these skills.

According to Petrides and Sevdalis (2010), emotional intelligence is depicted through various traits. Emotional intelligence among nurses helps them in developing their adaptability skills. Through this, nurses become flexible hence adapting to new conditions is easy. This trait is desirable given that their work is challenging. Additionally, emotional intelligence is vital in developing assertiveness among the nurses. In so doing, such nurses are frank, forthright and capable of fighting for their rights always. Emotional intelligence gives nurses emotion expression in that they are able to clearly communicate their feelings so that others can understand them. However, this emotional intelligence is not only crucial to nurses but also other people they interact with in their daily routine. This is achieved through emotion management so that such nurses do exert their influence to other people’s feelings. This trait is essential given that part of a nurse’s job is to manage the emotions of their patients.

Emotion perception is possible when a nurse uses emotional intelligence at their work place. Here, emotion perception helps nurses in to be clear about their own feelings, as well as other people too. Petrides and Sevdalis (2010) goes ahead to say that emotional intelligence is vital in regulation of emotion. By so doing, nurses are able to control their emotions as they go about their daily duties and responsibilities. As earlier illustrated, emotional intelligence assists in developing good interpersonal skills. As such, there is the development of relationships between nurses and patients. Emotional intelligence plays a role of ensuring that these relationships are can be maintained and are fulfilling. Further more, it is emotional intelligence that gives the nurses self-esteem in their job. This makes them succeed in their endeavors by giving them self-confidence. One of the unique aspects of nursing is the challenge associated with the job. Consequently, nurses apply their emotional intelligence to gain self-motivation. As a result, nurses develop resilience and a “never give up” attitude even at times they are faced with adversity.

Nursing is a career that is associated with stress. This is due to the long hours that nurses have to be on duty. Emotional intelligence is critical in management of this stress. Nurses with emotional intelligence are in a position to withstand any pressure associated with their job and regulate the stress. Empathy is a vital trait in the nursing profession. Emotional intelligence gives nurses this trait in order for them to look at issues from the perspective of their patients. Additionally, emotional intelligence gives nurses happiness making them optimistic in their endeavors. Consequently, such nurses become cheerful and are always satisfied with their lives. Satisfaction in life makes the nurses to be confident and always view things on the brighter side of life. Such nurses are likely to be positive about their work. This positivity greatly improves their performance.

Literature Review

Kerr (2009) tried to relate emotional intelligence with job performance in his study titled “Connecting Emotional Intelligence to Success in the Workplace”. In this study, Kerr developed five dimensions that constitute the model for emotional intelligence. These dimensions include actions of the self, resilience, awareness of others, interactions with others and awareness of the self. All these dimensions are interconnected and hence cannot apply in isolation at the workplace (DeLucia et al., 2009). The awareness of self is the most critical component of the emotional intelligence dimensions. Through the awareness of the self, one is capable to identify emotions in themselves, and perceive the impact those emotions have on others at their work place. Nurses who are self-aware are realistic in the appraisal of their own behavior. More so, they are able to recognize how such other people’s perceptions to them. This enables such nurses to identify their intent, as well as attitude during their communication with other people, especially the patients.

Another dimension is the actions of the self which entail being capable to manage one’s emotions in the work place. At the work place, nurses are likely to face negative emotions. In order to cope with such situations, they have to manage their own emotions in order to maintain equilibrium. Some of the situations could be full of jealousy, sadness or anger. In this case, nurses ought to successfully manage these scenes for them to operate properly. Nurses have to be aware of their emotions first. Here, one has to identify what they are feeling and learn to acknowledge such an emotion. Then, it is good to understand how to express such an emotion in a manner that does not result into negative repercussions.

In nursing, emotional intelligence is vital in creating an awareness of others. This entails being able to perceive and understand other people’s emotions in an accurate way. Understanding the emotions of others starts by people through their actions, words, body language or their facial expression. Nurses ought to do this in order for them to understand the emotions of the patients. Being alert to what the patients are emotionally experiencing enables nurses to empathize with those patients. Further more, through listening, nurses become aware of the emotions of their patients. By listening to patients, nurses get the meaning of their words, intonation and tone. On the other hand, awareness is created through observing the facial expressions, body language and actions of the patients. Nurses can only communicate with patients if they are able to read the reaction and feelings of those patients. Through, influencing them becomes easier.

Interaction with others entails being able to utilize the awareness of other people’s emotions in order to build teams, support networks and build relationships. Emotional intelligence gives nurses the ability to empathize and be compassionate about other people during their interactions. Empathizing means that nurses would not just rush into making negative judgements. It entails putting themselves in the situation of their patients. This helps in the creation of relationships which are productive and satisfying to both the nurses, patients and other employees in the health care organization. In such cases, developing teams is easy as there is understanding among employees.

Nurses use their emotional intelligence in developing resilience in whatever they do. Here, nurses become optimistic, flexible, easily learn from their mistakes and are able to recover from setbacks. This develops equilibrium in that a nurse is able to remain the same inspite changes that could be going on in their lives. As one encounters internal changes like boredom, love, anger and joy, among others, they are able to draw motivation from their resilience. For nurses, they overcome any changes in whichever environment they are operating from because of the resilience. Flexibility and optimism ensures that one is able to learn from any disappointments and setbacks that they encounter in their daily operations.

Research by Anne McQueen (2004) titled “Emotional intelligence in nursing work” tried to look at the value of emotional intelligence when it comes to nursing. McQueen says that initially, the nursing profession entailed concealing the emotions of nurses. This was in order to maintain a professional barrier. He says that this was aimed at protecting the emotions of the patients. Organization of work and the approach of nurses to various tasks ensured that the status was maintained. However, over time, there has been a paradigm shift in the way nursing is undertaken. Nurses have tended to move away from detachment and maintain distance with the patients. Consequently, nurses are embracing the idea of appreciating involvement and commitment. Currently, there is a named nurse concept, as well as primary nursing that have significantly improved the relationship between nurses and patients. Valued concepts now include new nursing, partnership and open communication between the nurse and the patient. These help in strengthening the relationship between the nurse and the patient.

Nursing has adopted a holistic approach when it comes to the provision of health care. Additionally, there is the acknowledgement of the need to address spiritual, psychological and social issues of the patients. Consequently, this has necessitated closer relationships and the continuous delivery of quality health care. In encouraging partnership in the delivery of health care, there is a need for mutual understanding and open communication. This can be facilitated through developing a good rapport between nurses and patients. To the nurses, job satisfaction is resultant when they get to know the patients. Here, they are able to interpret the patients’ concerns, as well as anticipate the needs of these patients.

The holistic approach to health care provision, developing partnerships and intimacy enables nurses to understand their patients. In understanding these patients as individuals, the nurses get to know that they also have feelings. The nurses are thus positioned to respond to the suffering of the patients. The exposure to the physical and emotional suffering of the patients enables the nurses to deal with it as part of their daily routine. Of importance here is the capacity of the nurses to manage their own emotions. By so doing, they would be able help and fully support these patients. However, it is important for the nurse to promote empathetic concern while avoiding emotional contagion.

Emotional intelligence entails nurses helping patients on various issues. For instance, it is the responsibility of the nurses to ensure patients feel cared for. Nurse can achieve this by welcoming patients, being considerate and polite to them, as well as showing respect to patients all the time. Training in nursing equips nurses with vital skills in health care provision. These include provision of helpful information and advice, helping patients whenever necessary, administration of technical care and engaging in supportive behavior with the patients. Normally, these behaviors are associated with emotions such as joy, compassion and sadness. Additionally, nurses are also likely to suffer from emotions like frustrations, anger and disgust. Consequently, emotional intelligence is vital in understanding these emotions and helping the patients overcome theirs too.

Among the nurses, there are numerous benefits that do come with emotional intelligence. Anne McQueen (2004) outlines some of these benefits as being a result of emotional labor in the work place. Showing care to patients has advantages which are demonstrated through various ways. For instance, patients would change their physical behavior and be attentive to whatever the nurses are trying to pass across. They end up appreciating the nurses’ efforts in meeting their needs. Overall, there would be an improvement in the quality of health care provided when nurses engage with patients. Here, the engagement provides nurses with an opportunity to detect and act on any cases reported by the patients. Further more; the nurses are in a good position to anticipate the needs of the patients, as well as their wishes. In order to address issues related to spiritual, physical and psychological aspects of health care provision, nurses respond accordingly.

To the nurses, they derive certain benefits at a personal level by way of engaging with patients. For instance, there are reports of job satisfaction especially when nurses receive a positive feedback from the patients. Normally, patients report back to the nurses as a way of appreciation for a job well done. Nevertheless, emotional labor is said to be requiring skills hence demanding. Essentially, such a kind of work that is intense can result into stress and exhaustion among the nurses. This can result into a burnout among the nurses. Consequently, the nurses ought to be cautious. There is a need for a balance between offering attention to patients and personal limitations. Coping mechanisms should be instituted in order to protect the nurses from this burnout. Coping strategies include sharing patients and provision of pee support.

According to the UK Nursing and Midwifery Council (2002), there is a need to support the development of relationships between nurses and patients. The partnership is vital in facilitating good interpersonal skills necessary for the provision of care to patients. Contrary, there is a feeling among the nurses that they are not well prepared when it comes to giving psychosocial support to patients. This is because many at times, patients are just hospitalized for short periods. As a result, nurses do not get enough time to develop a rapport with the patients before they are discharged. However, nurses ought to learn how they can rapidly develop a rapport with these patients even at the short period they are in hospital. It has been established trusting relationships are critical in assisting patients to open up to the nurses. Through this, the patients feel free to share on various issues in order for them to recover quickly.

Emotional intelligence is important in improving job performance among the nurses. This has been adequately addressed in the discussion above. On the other hand, there is a feeling that the education system does not equip nurses with vital skills. Programmes in place do not equip nurses to be self-aware in order to offer psychosocial support to patients. Despite the fact that emotional intelligence is appreciated in nursing, nurses feel inadequacy in their training. Practicing nurses feel meeting their demanding roles is not possible due to the inadequacy f the educational system in place. Meeting the interpersonal, emotional and social demands of patients is not possible.

Methods

This section aims at elaborating on the introduction by discussing ways in which the goals of the research are to be achieved.

Design

The research is to be undertaken in order to determine the relationship between emotional intelligence and job performance among the nurses. The strategy to be used here the administration of questionnaires to nurses both in the public and private service. In the research, a number of nurses and patients are to be interviewed by use of questionnaires. By the use of questionnaires, vital data to be collected will be collected in order to examine the relationship between emotional intelligence and job performance. From the way the nurses and patients respond to the questionnaires, it can be easy to find out the relationship. Nurses are to be asked on the effects that emotional intelligence has had on the performance of the nurses. To the patients, they are interviewed on how they benefit from the relationship developed from partnership with nurses.

The study is to take place in a health care setting. Both public and private health care facilities are to be involved in the study. Nurses who work in these hospitals are to be interviewed to determine if they see any relationship between their job performance and emotional intelligence. The data will be collected in four health facilities. Of the four, two are public whereas two are private. These health facilities offer both in patient and out patient services to the community. In these health facilities, there are nurses who carry out numerous care services to patients.

Description of sample

The participants in the interview who will form the sample are nurses and patients. These nurses are the female ones given that it is women who are associated with virtues like compassion and empathy. Majority of these nurses have a bachelor’s degree and diploma in nursing. This means that they do have the prerequisite skills needed in their profession. On the other hand, the education level of the patients admitted in the hospital does not really matter in the interview. However, only a specific number of patients are to be interviewed. All patients who will be admitted in the health centers during the time of the interview are to take part in the interview.

The interview is to have 100 participants. Here, 80 nurses are to be interviewed and 20 patients. A total of 100 questionnaires are to be administered to these participants. However, there is not going to be any focused group discussions. Each of the participants is to be interviewed at an individual level. Other participants in the interview would be a group of college students pursuing a course in nursing. These students are to interview the nurses and patients in the identified health facilities. They will be compensated according to the terms and conditions to be agreed upon between them and the project financiers.

Description of measures

The study is to employ the use of questionnaires. These are both closed and open questionnaires. The closed questions will have a list of responses where to choose from. The respondents will have options like Yes and No. Here, the respondent will not explain their responses in any way. Closed questionnaires will be good in producing quantitative data. On the other hand, the open-ended questions will not have any set of answer. These will give the respondents flexibility to put the answers in their own words. Respondents will provide more information to explain their answers. As such, these open-ended questions are suitable in production of qualitative data in the study.

The questionnaire option is chosen because of a number of advantages that come with it. For instance, using a questionnaire enables the researcher to reach the target sample quickly, efficiently and easily. In this case, the questionnaires are to be administered physically to the concerned health facilities. Additionally, it is easy to do data analysis of data collected using questionnaires. Here, the creation, coding and interpretation of questionnaires is easy and quick compared other data collection methods. However, in cases there are issues related to time consumed, it is on the part of respondent, but not the researcher. Standardization of questionnaires is easy. In this case, it is easy for every respondent to answer the same question in a similar way. This makes the method reliable as everyone in the sample answers exactly similar questions.

Data collection procedures

Data in the study is to be collected during project development. The data in the study will be collected through the administration of questionnaires. These questionnaires are to be administered to nurses in four health facilities. Two of these facilities are public whereas two are private. Further more, patients who will be in these facilities are to be interviewed. The target is to interview a minimum of 20 patients in these health facilities. The data is to be collected during the working hours of these facilities. The questionnaires are to be administered by college students undertaking as course in nursing. These students will be responsible for the collection and recording of the data. Additionally, they are to do data entry and analysis.

There is a need to put checks in place in order to ensure that the data collected is reliable. These could include observations. This enables researchers to get the emotional reactions of the participants in the interview. Additionally, observation is good in giving the researchers deeper insights into the real situation as it is on the ground. By so doing, one is able to guard against any false information. Directly interviewing the patients with a questionnaire as a guide helps in verifying data reliability. For instance, the questions can be standardized and be asked in a way that reduces cases of false information.

A description of data analysis

The analyzed data is to be presented in numerous forms. These forms include measures of central tendency, tables, graphic presentations, percentage, charts and raw numbers. Tables and charts form a principal component of data presentation in this study. They are able to raise interest among the audience, as well as encouraging acceptance and memory retention. The relationship between emotional intelligence and job performance can, therefore, be best presented by use of tables and graphs.

References

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Ohio State University. (n.d). Emotional Intelligence for Nurses. Web.

Petrides, K. V., & Sevdalis, N. (2009). Emotional intelligence and nursing: Comment on Bulmer-Smith, Profetto-McGrath, and Cummings (2009). International Journal of Nursing Studies.

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