If nurses had an advice column, perhaps a “Dear Nurse” column, the top question might be: How do I deal with someone who is difficult to work with? Imagine the possible responses to a question like that! This scenario begs to ask: Have you tried to talk with this person to get to know them better, find out what their strengths are, or learn what they like and don’t like? When a busy nurse complains about someone who is difficult to work with, he or she is typically past the point of thinking about conflict resolution. This is precisely why the faculty of Ottawa University's online nursing program encourage the development of Emotional Intelligence in our future nurses. It is just as crucial as developing technical skills.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
The concept of Emotional Intelligence (EI) emerged decades ago and is still highly relevant today, especially in the field of nursing. Emotional Intelligence is rooted in our ability to recognize and understand the impact our emotions have on our interactions, so we are better equipped to appropriately manage emotional situations. Being able to recognize how our emotions affect those around us helps us improve how we work with others and makes us better nurses.
Emotional Intelligence and Conflict Management
Applying Emotional Intelligence in nursing helps nurses communicate with one another, which improves the overall patient experience. Unfortunately, the typical complaint from a nurse is when a legitimate concern with another nurse is often minimized or ignored by management. To be sure, any query of nurses will yield multiple stories of daily frustrations and conflicting encounters. So much angst occurs among our fellow nurses that managing the root sources of angst has now become a top priority in the nursing field. Nurses need relief from overwhelming weariness, stress, and fatigue. Is anyone willing to act? If so, the question then becomes: How do we turn this around? We must develop the human spirit.
Emotional Intelligence and Stress Management
It should come as no surprise that nurses encounter high levels of stress. Sadly, nursing stress is often associated with burnout. Therefore, it is critical to determine how we can minimize the stress that our nurses experience. It has been proven that utilizing Emotional Intelligence helps nurses reduce stress. This knowledge demands a need for implementing EI training as an integral component of nurse education and training, as well as regular refresher training. There is much need for this training to be offered within our healthcare organization, and much need for the “nurse collective” to recognize the need for this among ourselves.
The Nursing Spirit
Turning this around means nurturing and nourishing the nurse as an individual within a healthcare organization, and not as just a tool to get the job done. Wouldn’t it be amazing for a healthcare organization to create a workplace that promotes the nurse as a human being in a skilled role? Yes, it is possible! The organizational culture of the nursing profession is recognizing the need to address the human spirit instead of relying solely on technological approaches.
Our expert faculty within Ottawa University’s RN to MSN online nursing program also recognize this need. For this very reason, we emphasize the importance of the “nurse collective”, which includes our nurses-in-training. As we learn new skills, we nurture and nourish ourselves and each other. We focus on managing our streams of thought, our reactions and emotions, and our verbal and non-verbal communication.
How Can RNs Develop Emotional Intelligence?
Ottawa University’s RN to MSN online program offers two concentrations that address the core competencies for both Nurse Educators and Nurse Leaders. Nurse Educators have the important role in preparing nurses to handle emotional situations before entering the field. Whereas Nurse Leaders are crucial in encouraging the further development of emotional intelligence skills within themselves and their nursing staff.
Nurse Educator Concentration:
As advances in our healthcare system continue to improve and enhance the quality of life and life expectancy, there is a critical need to increase nurse educators in our industry that can prepare nurses at all levels to meet the provision of nursing services that the population will require. This concentration track will provide you with the tools necessary to step into the classroom and produce future leaders in healthcare.
Nurse Leader Concentration:
The demand for well-trained nurse leaders is projected for continued rapid growth as the industry seeks professionals who have what it takes to make decisions at higher levels of healthcare leadership. This concentration track will provide graduates with the knowledge and skills to pursue management and executive-level positions, whereby they can help set standards for the quality of care in healthcare organizations of all sizes.
Conflict is inevitable for the nurse due to the unique role we have with multiple stakeholders in high stress situations. However, it is not inevitable that conflict and conflict-related stress should kill our individual spirits and take our health. Increasing our knowledge and skills in the area of emotional intelligence - identifying, understanding, expressing, regulating, and expressing of emotions - offers hope. I encourage you to look for resources. A free CNE training video on the topic of “Emotional Intelligence and Motivational Interviewing Skills for Nurses” will be offered soon by Ottawa University Nursing. I wish our “nurse collective” the very best in the months ahead.
Ottawa University’s Online Nursing Programs
Ottawa University's accelerated online degrees in nursing help you gain the emotional intelligence skills needed to effectively communicate with others and provide the best patient care. With convenient campus locations in Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Phoenix, Ottawa University gives you the flexibility to attend classes from anywhere through our online programs.
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MSN Degree Caters to RNs Seeking Career Advancement
Benefits of an Advanced Degree in Nursing