According to Mental Health America, emotional intelligence refers to the ability to not only manage and handle your emotions but also understand the emotions of those around you. In the world of nursing, nurses have to deal with constant highs and lows, and when you have high emotional intelligence (EI), you can figure out how you are feeling, what the feeling means, and how those around you are affected by your response to your feelings. So, a high EI means that you are better equipped to handle the emotions of other people, even though you cannot control them. It enables you to find the best way to interact with them, and that can be crucial when communicating with patients, their families, and other healthcare providers.

One study found that EI plays a major role in nursing as it can affect the quality of patient care and treatment outcomes. Emotional intelligence is vital for decision-making and critical thinking, something you have to nurse every day.

Patient care

Nurses possessing emotional intelligence can establish rapport and communicate effectively with their patients. Patients who feel their nurse understands their emotions are more likely to trust and comply with their nurse’s instructions and recommendations.

Moreover, nurses with high EI can recognize signs of distress or anxiety in their patients. When you are attuned to your patients’ emotional states, you can provide appropriate interventions to ease their anxiety and facilitate the healing process.

Teamwork and collaboration

Nurses are usually a part of a multidisciplinary team and have to work with and communicate with different healthcare professionals, patients, and their families. So, when nurses are emotionally intelligent, they manage their emotions. That, in turn, reduces the likelihood of conflict within the team.

Emotionally intelligent nurses can gauge and understand the emotions of their colleagues, which facilitates effective communication and problem-solving. It can be crucial in high-pressure healthcare settings, such as the ICU or emergency department. When you can manage the stress and pressure of the situation, you stay calm and composed. That enables you to keep the team focused and on task.

Leadership and management

As a nurse, you will not want to stagnate in your career. That is one of the many reasons registered nurses with bachelor’s degrees enroll in higher education programs. The University of Indianapolis offers an online post-masters Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program that inculcates and hones advanced skills in leadership, patient advocacy, and policy-making. It equips you with the right knowledge and expertise to improve patient health outcomes in your community. Armed with this degree, you can move into leadership or management roles. If you do that, you need emotional intelligence to be a successful and effective nursing leader. 

High EI ensures you understand the motivations and concerns of your team members. When you recognize and accordingly respond to the emotions of your team members, you can create a positive work environment that fosters productivity and job satisfaction. You can also handle conflicts within your team by identifying the cause and developing strategies to resolve them effectively. 

Compassionate care

As a nurse, you know that compassionate care is an integral part of nursing. When providing patient-centered care, you need to respond not just to the healthcare concerns but also to the emotional needs of your patients.

Having emotional intelligence allows you to intuitively understand the different emotions your patients experience during their treatment. Responding to these emotions can reduce your patients’ anxiety, improve treatment outcomes, and boost patient satisfaction.

Stress and burnout 

Stress and burnout are major concerns in nursing, as the job can be emotionally draining. Research shows that stress among nurses can lead to absenteeism and leaving the workforce. With the healthcare industry grappling with a shortage of nurses, it has become important to address stress within the nursing community.

While nursing can be a stressful and emotionally demanding career, it is also rewarding and satisfying. As a nurse, if you want to handle the stress of your work, you need to cultivate your emotional intelligence. It allows you to manage your emotions as you become more self-aware. That, in turn, helps you cope with the stressors of your job. You tend to focus on self-care activities like meditation, exercise, and social support to reduce stress levels and promote well-being.

As a nurse, you should cultivate your emotional intelligence. When you do that, it will enhance your professional performance and help you achieve better patient outcomes.