Understanding and use of emotional intelligence among clinical nursing instructors
The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore clinical nursing instructors understanding and use of emotional intelligence (EI). Emotional intelligence can be defined as “the ability to monitor one’s own and other’s feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions” (Salovey & Mayer, 1990, p.189). Mayer and Salovey’s Four-Branch Model of Emotional Intelligence was used as a conceptual framework to examine nine clinical nursing instructors’ experiences of how they perceive and use EI in their clinical practice. Data was collected over a 3-month period using semi-structured interviews and analyzed using open coding to categorize and develop themes. Two major themes and several subthemes emerged from the data to describe clinical nursing instructors’ understanding and use of EI. The two themes identified were Emotional Awareness and Managing Emotions. This study demonstrated that clinical nursing instructors have the ability to perceive and use emotions in themselves and others. This is an important finding, as advancing nursing education with emotionally intelligent educators will assist in meeting the demands of evolving health care needs. Although there are nursing studies that explore emotional intelligence in nursing and nursing students, there has only been one study examining emotional intelligence and clinical nursing instructors. This exploratory, qualitative study adds to the knowledge of EI and clinical nursing instructors, contributing to a better understanding of clinical nursing instructors’ perceptions and use of EI.