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Donna J. Bailey


The delivery of quality care has been a priority for the health care industry in the United States. Researchers have established positive correlations between the levels of emotional intelligence of registered nurses and their clinical performances. However, new evidence suggests the need to enhance the use of emotional intelligence (EI) in high-risk clinical units. With the intent to understand the use of EI, a phenomenological research approach was used to identify the emergency room nurse's understanding of EI. The Four-branch Model of Emotional Intelligence was used as the theoretical framework, while the research question identified the emergency room nurse's perception of EI. Eight emergency room nurses from two facilities participated in the study. The inclusion criteria consisted of emergency room nurses with one to ten years of experience, nurses that worked thirty-six hours or more per week, and were not in leadership roles. The data were collected through face-to-face interview sessions and analyzed using the Colaizzi's Method of Data Analysis. All participants reported unfamiliarity with the concept of EI. Nevertheless, evidence that indicated the presence of all elements of this concept such as the ability to perceive emotions, understand emotions, use emotions to enhance reasoning, and manage emotions, were apparent in the stories shared by the nurses. The results of the study indicated a potential influence toward positive social change at the organizational and professional level. The implementation of educational activities to improve the use of this concept and the modification of current health care policies to incorporate emotional intelligence as clinical competencies are actions that can influence positive social change.

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