Measuring the emotional intelligence of clinical staff nurses: an approach for improving the clinical care environment

Nurs Adm Q. 2008 Jan-Mar;32(1):8-14. doi: 10.1097/01.NAQ.0000305942.38816.3b.


Background: Significant correlations have been demonstrated between emotional intelligence (EI) and high levels of performance and other organizational variables related to retention and workplace environment. Although these variables are also important for safe care and healthy work relationships, there is little research on the EI of clinical staff nurses. The purpose of this study was to measure EI as related to performance level of clinical staff nurses, and to collect data on important related career/organizational variables.

Methods: Thirty-six nurses in 3 urban hospitals in Honolulu, Hawaii, participated. EI, nursing performance level, and career/organizational variables were measured.

Discussion: Significant positive correlations between clinical performance level and EI scores were observed. However, a large percentage of the clinical staff demonstrated below average total EI scores and subscores (perceiving emotions, experiencing emotions).

Conclusions: Findings from this study offer the first evidence that the performance level of clinical staff nurses correlates positively with EI. A high percentage of nurses in this study scored below average on both total EI score and important subscores. These findings warrant further investigation. EI may offer a framework and specific skills to enhance collaboration, positive conflict behaviors, and healthy relationships in the clinical care environment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Comprehension
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Emotions
  • Empathy*
  • Employee Performance Appraisal
  • Female
  • Hawaii
  • Health Facility Environment / organization & administration
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Hospitals, Urban
  • Humans
  • Intelligence*
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Nursing
  • Models, Psychological
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital* / education
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital* / psychology
  • Total Quality Management / organization & administration
  • Workplace* / organization & administration
  • Workplace* / psychology