The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Healthcare

Key takeaways
The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Healthcare

Why healthcare professionals should learn about emotional intelligence

Emotions are an important part of our lives and, in fact, they play a role in every interaction we have. Whether we're making decisions or understanding the world around us, emotions are crucial. Learning to recognise and understand emotions is a skill that can be used in any situation - whether it's during a romantic encounter or during a business discussion.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to monitor one's own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour. In short, it is the awareness of yourself, your surroundings, and how your behaviour affects others.

Emotional intelligence also refers to an individual's ability to understand emotions (internal sensations like love or fear) and apply this knowledge in a way that allows for effective interactions with other people. 

Every leader needs emotional intelligence

Being a leader is more than just being a good manager. While you may be an expert in your field, effective leaders know how to motivate their team and manage difficult situations. If you look down at your own skills, and see room for improvement, you're in luck. 

While the term "emotional intelligence" has been floating around for years, only recently has it come into vogue for business. If a person has strong emotional intelligence skills, he or she can handle difficult situations with confidence. These people are often sought out for jobs in leading roles because they have the ability to make good decisions on behalf of their team and organisation.

Emotional intelligence is crucial for effective and productive relationships

Emotional intelligence is a crucial skill for managing your relationships at home as well as at work. If you want to be an effective worker, you need to be able to put yourself in other people's shoes and understand their arguments. If you want to have a happy and harmonious family life, then you need to master the art of communication and reading people. 

You don't always have to agree with someone. But you should show them the respect of listening and understanding what they are saying. That doesn't mean that you have to go along with them either. But if you have empathy for them, it will be easier for both of you to reach an agreeable compromise.

What are the benefits of emotional intelligence for healthcare professionals?

Emotional intelligence for healthcare professionals is a growing trend and an area that many nurses, doctors, and healthcare professionals are trying to focus on due to their daily interactions with patients. This is why it is crucial that they be in tune with themselves, as well as with their patients' feelings. 

There are numerous studies that suggest that empathy is highly associated with patient satisfaction, and that communication skills, lack of prejudices and personal boundaries, and a positive attitude are crucial to the practice of health care professionals.

Another important benefit is that improving emotional intelligence can help to better manage stress. This is because if you learn to reduce stressful feelings like anger and anxiety, you'll reduce the harmful effects that stress has on your health. With emotional intelligence, you can learn to recognise and reduce the effects of stress on your health. You'll be able to handle difficult situations more effectively and reduce the amount of time you spend feeling stressed out.

How can you develop your emotional intelligence skills?

A great way of getting started to being a more effective and mindful person, then practicing inner dialogues is a useful technique. This strategy will assist you in identifying and naming your feelings, which will help you understand them better and manage them more effectively. When you're able to do this, you'll be able to have better conversations with yourself and make better decisions.

Want to improve your empathy? Mirror their body language! By understanding and interpreting another person's body language, you'll be able to better understand their emotions and reactions. By mirroring their posture, expressions, and movements, you'll be able to evoke the same emotions in yourself. So, for example, by mirroring another person's tense posture, you may induce tenseness in yourself. By understanding the way that people communicate through their body language, you can better understand their feelings and motivations.

Measuring Emotional Intelligence

Measuring emotional intelligence (EQ) is a valuable way to understand and develop one's emotional awareness and interpersonal skills. There are several established methods and assessments for measuring emotional intelligence. Here are some of the most commonly used approaches:

  1. Self-Report Assessments: These are questionnaires or surveys that individuals complete to assess their own emotional intelligence. The most widely recognised self-report assessment is the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) and its revised version (EQ-i 2.0). The individual rates their abilities, attitudes, and behaviours related to emotions.
  2. 360-Degree Feedback: This method involves gathering feedback from various sources, including self-assessment and assessments from peers, supervisors, and subordinates. It provides a more comprehensive view of an individual's emotional intelligence. The Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI) is an example of a 360-degree feedback tool.
  3. Ability-Based Tests: These tests assess a person's actual emotional abilities, such as accurately recognising emotions in facial expressions, understanding emotional nuances in written passages, and managing one's emotions. The Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) is an example of an ability-based test.
  4. Observational Assessment: Trained observers or psychologists assess an individual's emotional intelligence through structured observations in various social or workplace settings. This method is less commonly used due to its subjectivity and resource intensity.
  5. Behavioural Assessment: Individuals are evaluated on their observable behaviours related to emotional intelligence, such as their responses to emotional situations, their interpersonal skills, and their conflict resolution abilities. This method is often used in developmental coaching.
  6. Performance Reviews: Some organisations incorporate emotional intelligence into their performance evaluation processes, where employees are rated on their ability to manage emotions, collaborate effectively, and handle interpersonal relationships.
  7. Psychological Assessments: In clinical or therapeutic settings, psychologists may use various assessments to evaluate emotional intelligence as part of a larger psychological evaluation. This is typically done for diagnosing and treating emotional and mental health issues.

It's important to note that measuring emotional intelligence is not an exact science. Various assessment tools may yield different results, and the results may be influenced by an individual's self-awareness and willingness to be honest in their self-assessment. Additionally, emotional intelligence can change and develop over time, so a one-time assessment may not provide a complete picture of a person's EQ.

When using emotional intelligence assessments, it's essential to interpret the results carefully, and consider them in the context of the individual's personal and professional development. Developing emotional intelligence is an ongoing process, and these assessments can serve as a starting point for improvement and self-awareness.

Emotional Intelligence report examples

Brief emotional intelligence report sample

Brief EQi report

Complex emotional intelligence report sample

Complex EQi report summary
Complex EQi report description of individual element

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