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Three Questions about Nursing and Healthcare Emotional Intelligence (“HEQ”)

December 17, 2015

A survey by MiracleWorkers.com reveals that 71% of healthcare hiring managers and HR professionals value Emotional Intellignece (EQ) over IQ but only 34% are actually placing a higher emphasis on EQ in the hiring and promotion process.

Hospital administrators, senior nurses and physician leaders, know they need to see different behaviors (some combination of collaboration, compassion and adaptability) and they end up at the concept of “emotional intelligence” but they aren’t quite sure what it is, how to measure it or how to use it. brain 148312020

Hospital leaders and nursing executives tell us they see value in the standard EQ measurements like the Bar-On EQ-I and the MSCEIT, but the tools, certainly, aren’t healthcare-specific and there is no follow up on how to actually use the results to change behaviors that impact patient outcomes and the patient experience.

Want to understand the concept of emotional intelligence in Healthcare? Here are three questions, answered, for a better understanding of the topic.

1. What is EQ?

A general definition of EQ: “The capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships” and encompassing, generally, five elements: Self Awareness, Self Regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social Skills.

2. Does it matter in Healthcare as much as it does in other industries? (It does.)

A Press-Ganey survey of over 2 million patients showed they place a high priority on the degree to which providers meet their emotional needs. Today, the ability to remain calm under pressure, to resolve conflicts, to learn from mistakes and have thoughtful discussion on tough issues, are pre-requisites for success. So it could be argued that it’s MORE important in healthcare today than other industries.

3. Is Healthcare EQ different?

Healthcare EQ IS different in some respects. General measures of EQ may not be sufficient for the healthcare setting. The behavioral competencies in question are being tested in specific and unique circumstances. For instance, our data shows that when measuring “compassion” as part of “empathy” (typically important in an EQ assessment), there may be an ideal compassion range for a healthcare provider, because a person too high in compassion can be dysfunctional in some patient care settings. Similarly, whereas “conscientiousness” may not be emphasized in some EQ measures, it should be weighed heavily in HEQ settings.

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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.