Effective nurse administrators can reshape healthcare in the contemporary world, serving as catalysts for change. Their role is not confined merely to managing resources or ensuring smooth workflow but extends to being mentors and role models for younger nursing professionals. Critical to this multifaceted role is the development of emotional intelligence (EI).
This skill set enables nurse leaders to adapt to varying situations and effectively engage with others. In a dynamic field such as nursing, emotional intelligence has proven to be a cornerstone for success. Advanced nursing degrees, like a Registered Nurse (RN) to Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Nursing Administration and Leadership online program, can equip nursing professionals to hone their emotional intelligence skills and apply them in the workplace.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is a concept often used in the scope of leadership. It involves the ability to understand, use and manage our emotions positively to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. This skill also involves our capacity to recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others, which is imperative in personal and professional relationships.
Five key elements define emotional intelligence:
- Self-awareness: The ability to recognize and understand one’s own emotions and their effects. Individuals with high self-awareness are conscious of how they feel and how their emotions can affect their actions and decisions.
- Self-regulation: This involves adapting to changing circumstances and managing emotions in a way that allows individuals to express themselves effectively and appropriately.
- Motivation: People with high EI tend to be resilient and optimistic. They can work consistently towards their goals despite obstacles and setbacks.
- Empathy: This is the ability to understand, share and respond to the feelings of others. Emotionally intelligent individuals can understand the emotional states of others and respond appropriately, which is a vital skill in building and maintaining relationships.
- Social skills: Involves managing relationships to move people in the desired direction, which includes effective communication, leadership and conflict resolution. Individuals with strong social skills are typically team players who can navigate social interactions and build positive relationships with a diverse range of people.
Nursing Clinics, a significant voice in the nursing field, has underscored the importance of these skills. In their discourse, emotional intelligence in nurse administrators aids in decision-making, conflict resolution and communication.
EI allows leaders to make informed decisions that consider the feelings and needs of the team members. It promotes a collaborative approach to conflict resolution, which reduces the likelihood of workplace hostility. The clarity in communication enabled by EI is crucial in transmitting directives and expectations, fostering a culture of transparency.
What Does the Research Say?
Recent findings from an article published in the Scientific Research journal reveal the benefits of emotional intelligence within the nursing profession. The report asserts that emotionally intelligent nurses are more adept at managing stress, burnout and fatigue. It further indicates a positive correlation between emotional intelligence and job satisfaction, thereby reducing turnover rates in the nursing profession.
Another attribute of emotionally intelligent nurses highlighted in this research is their ability to establish and maintain productive interpersonal relationships. These connections with patients, families and colleagues foster an environment of mutual respect and understanding, which is pivotal in delivering quality healthcare.
Moreover, a review of literature available from the National Library of Medicine reinforces these views. The study emphasizes that emotionally intelligent nurse administrators are pivotal in patient satisfaction. Their empathetic approach and ability to manage emotions, even in high-stress situations, contribute to a positive patient experience.
Emotional Intelligence Can Be Learned (and Honed)
Emotional intelligence will always be a vital component of nursing leadership. As the demands of the healthcare field continue to evolve, the cultivation of EI among nurse administrators will remain paramount in ensuring the provision of high-quality, compassionate healthcare. To prepare for an environment necessitating EI, nurses can turn to their education.
The University of Southern Maine (USM), in recognition of the importance of EI, includes an Organizational Theory and Behavior course in its online program. This course emphasizes developing EI skills to guide future nursing leaders in dealing with diverse and complex scenarios.
The program equips nurse administrators with the tools to succeed in leadership roles. Depending on one’s preference and flexibility, students can complete the coursework in as few as 24 months — an accelerated pace that allows nurses to jumpstart their career sooner rather than later.