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3 Points about Nurses & Healthcare Emotional Intelligence

December 17, 2015


Hospitals are getting on the emotional intelligence (“EQ”) train. With a new focus on patient satisfaction scores, they are looking for ways to enhance the patient and family experience.

Our team of industrial/organizational psychologists have spent the past several years adapting the principles of selection and hiring from other industries to healthcare. Now we’ve turned our attention to how the concept of emotional intelligence, long applied in business settings, translates to healthcare. As you think about adopting the progressive approaches to talent, think about the following:heart doctor164569872

  • There is still some resistance to this type of training because education in medicine and healthcare fields is steeped in tradition and healthcare professionals may have a hard time believing they need to develop interpersonal skills, believing that the compassion that drew them to the industry will serve them well.
  • There is a growing body of research showing a correlation between emotional intelligence and outcomes.
  • The traditional measures are EQ may be inadequate. They were not developed with healthcare or the provider-patient relationship in mind.
    • Traditional measures like the Bar-On EQ-I, and the Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale (MEIS) are general EQ measures and provide no healthcare-specific guidance as to how to use the results.
    • General psychological screening tools like the Meyers-Briggs are not particularly useful in this area.


At Select, we are working on the specific concept of “Healthcare Emotional Intelligence” (“HEQ”) wherein EQ is measured with the unique nature of the healthcare setting in mind. In our experience, training on EQ and patient-centered care skills, to be effective, MUST take into the consideration the HEQ profile of the individuals in the training, so that each person can take away an understanding of how their own profile impacts patients, families and colleagues. Only then can every physician, nurse and allied health professional develop specific behaviors that will improve their interactions with others — the interactions that make up the patient experience and establish the culture of the organization.

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Bryan Warren Bryan Warren is the President of J3 Personica, a consulting, assessment, training, and coaching firm, and a guest blogger for PSI. Bryan is an expert in progressive talent strategies, with a particular focus on leader and physician selection and development.