The Study of Emotional Intelligence of Registered Nurses in the Ambulatory Care Setting

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Kathleen Gately Schortzmann, BSN, MSW, RN
Nursing - Leadership & Management, Western Governors University, Austin, TX, USA


INTRODUCTION:  The level of a person’s emotional intelligence depends on how they identify, use, understand, and manage their own emotions in a given situation.  This phenomological study sought to explore the feelings experienced by registered nurses, in the ambulatory care setting of the medical schools studied, when faced with emotionally charged scenarios.  The appropriateness of this research study lies in the fact that there is a lack of research concerning emotional intelligence among nurses in the ambulatory clinic setting.

PURPOSES:  Nurses encounter a variety of emotionally charged scenarios throughout their careers as ambulatory care nurses.  The research should help to determine that nurses may knowingly, or unknowningly, employ emotional intelligence strategies, during their course of employment within the ambulatory clinic setting, to garner positive outcomes in three key areas: 1) the delivery of quality patient care; 2) effectiveness in the nurse leadership role; and, 3) personal job satisfaction. 

METHODS:  Descriptive, qualitative data was gathered from the nurse participants’ responses to open-ended, questions via an online survey.  The questions were composed of emotionally charged scenarios that sought to evoke the nurse participants’ initial reactions to the scenario.  Following their initial reaction, the nurses were asked to elaborate about their feelings to the given scenario. 

EXPECTED OUTCOMES:  It is expected that the registered nurse participants will have limited knowledge about emotional intelligence.  Before one can educate the nurses about emotional intelligence, they must understand how the nurses react to certain emotionally charged situations.    

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING EDUCATION, PRACTICE, AND RESEARCH:     The conclusions drawn from the survey results will aid in determining if future interventions are warranted to assist the nurses in improving their understanding of emotional intelligence and how it relates to their quality of patient care, the effectiveness of their nurse leadership role, and their personal job satisfaction. If needed, the improvement in all three areas will benefit the nurse-patient relationship in the outpatient setting of the medical school/s studied.