Emotional intelligence and caring in health care professionals

Nightingale, Suzanne and Slade, Pauline and Sheen, Kerry and Spiby, Helen (2018) Emotional intelligence and caring in health care professionals. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 80 . pp. 106-117. ISSN 0020-7489

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Background: Over recent years there has been criticism within the United Kingdom’s health service regarding a lack of care and compassion, resulting in adverse outcomes for patients. The impact of emotional intelligence in staff on patient health care outcomes has been recently highlighted. Many recruiters now assess emotional intelligence as part of their selection process for health care staff. However, it has been argued that the importance of emotional intelligence in health care has been overestimated.

Objectives: To explore relationships between emotional intelligence in health care professionals, and caring behaviour. To further explore any additional factors related to emotional intelligence that may impact upon caring behaviour.

Design: An integrative review design was used.

Data sources: Psychinfo, Medline, CINAHL Plus, Social Sciences Citation Index, Science Citation Index, and Scopus were searched for studies from 1995 to April 2017.

Review methods: Studies providing quantitative or qualitative exploration of how any healthcare professionals' emotional intelligence is linked to caring in healthcare settings were selected.

Results: Twenty two studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Three main types of health care professional were identified: nurses, nurse leaders, and physicians. Results indicated that the emotional intelligence of nurses was related to both physical and emotional caring, but emotional intelligence may be less relevant for nurse leaders and physicians. Age, experience, burnout, and job satisfaction may also be relevant factors for both caring and emotional intelligence.

Conclusions: This review provides evidence that developing emotional intelligence in nurses may positively impact upon certain caring behaviours, and that there may be differences within groups that warrants further investigation. Understanding more about which aspects of emotional intelligence are most relevant for intervention is important, and directions for further large scale research have been identified.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Caring; emotional intelligence; integrative review; nurses; nurse-leaders; physicians
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2018.01.006
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2018 10:38
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2018 19:56
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/48993

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