Emotional intelligence among nursing students: Findings from a cross-sectional study

G. Štiglic, L. Cilar, Ž. Novak, D. Vrbnjak, R. Stenhouse, A. Snowden, M. Pajnkihar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background
Emotional intelligence in nursing is of global interest. International studies identify that emotional intelligence influences nurses' work and relationships with patients. It is associated with compassion and care. Nursing students scored higher on measures of emotional intelligence compared to students of other study programmes. The level of emotional intelligence increases with age and tends to be higher in women.
Objectives
This study aims to measure the differences in emotional intelligence between nursing students with previous caring experience and those without; to examine the effects of gender on emotional intelligence scores; and to test whether nursing students score higher than engineering colleagues on emotional intelligence measures.
Design
A cross-sectional descriptive study design was used. Settings and Participants: The study included 113 nursing and 104 engineering students at the beginning of their first year of study at a university in Slovenia.
DataEmotional intelligence was measured using the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue) and Schutte Self Report Emotional Intelligence Test (SSEIT)
Methods
Shapiro-Wilk's test of normality was used to test the sample distribution, while the differences in mean values were tested using Student t-test of independent samples. 
Results
Emotional intelligence was higher in nursing students (n = 113) than engineering students (n = 104) in both measures [TEIQue t = 3.972; p <0.001; SSEIT t = 8.288; p <0.001]. Although nursing female students achieved higher emotional intelligence scores than male students on both measures, the difference was not statistically significant [TEIQue t = −0.839; p = 0.403; SSEIT t = −1.159; p = 0.249]. EI scores in nursing students with previous caring experience were not higher compared to students without such experience for any measure [TEIQue t = −1.633; p = 0.105; SSEIT t = −0.595; p = 0.553]. 
Conclusions
Emotional intelligence was higher in nursing than engineering students, and slightly higher in women than men. It was not associated with previous caring experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-38
JournalNurse Education Today
Volume66
Early online date7 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Keywords

  • Caring
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Nursing
  • Psychometrics
  • Recruitment
  • Retention
  • adult
  • article
  • controlled study
  • cross-sectional study
  • emotional intelligence
  • female
  • gender
  • human
  • human experiment
  • intelligence test
  • major clinical study
  • male
  • nursing student
  • psychometry
  • questionnaire
  • self report
  • Slovenia
  • study design

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