There is no shortage of emotions when it comes to caring for patients. At times, you get to celebrate health and recovery. At other times, you are at the bedside of patients in their final moments. COVID-19 has heightened emotions even more with overcrowded facilities, differing viewpoints and other added stressors.
The ability to manage and read emotions can enhance patient care, improve the quality of the professional-patient relationships and increase patient levels of satisfaction.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
According to PositivePsychology.com, emotional intelligence can be defined as someone’s ability to perceive, understand and manage their own feelings and emotions. Emotional intelligence can help you understand why you are feeling the way you do and assist you in quickly deciding the best plan of action to handle it.
EI expert and author Daniel Goleman stated that his research found that emotional intelligence is linked to higher job satisfaction and is strongly related to job performance.
Components of Emotional Intelligence
While there are many components of emotional intelligence, we believe these four have the most profound impact on healthcare workers.
According to VeryWellMind.com, self-awareness is one of the foundational components of emotional intelligence. When encountering a scenario where you could feel frustrated, overwhelmed or angry, taking a step back and asking yourself, “How do these emotions influence the way I respond?” can assist you in turning your negative emotions into positive ones for a much better outcome.
Recognizing the emotions you are reacting with can allow you to take the time to calm down. Taking time to calm down can lead to a better reaction because it allows you to think more clearly.
Self-regulation is the process of managing your feelings. We all get stressed and frustrated at times (we’re only human), but by finding ways to improve your self-regulation in the workplace or in the field, you can improve your interactions with patients and co-workers.
Goleman also recommends that you find hobbies outside of your job to release work-related stress. Gardening, exercise and cooking are a few examples of great stress releasers.
He also shared that by simply remembering that you cannot control everything, you will be able to look at any situation from “outside the box” and find helpful ways to respond that will be proactive and positive.
Lastly, taking a moment to think before reacting, makes self-regulation intentional. Count to five. Take a couple of deep breaths. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to give a knee-jerk response, so by utilizing these self-regulating suggestions it can give you the time needed to quickly assess and respond accordingly.
Yes, you read that right. Research shows that people with higher emotional intelligence have strong social skills. This is usually because they can recognize emotions in other people and respond in a more positive manner.
Improving your social skills can allow for faster bonding in interactions with new patients, as well as in a team environment.
According to a career development article on Indeed.com, the four most important social skills in the workplace are:
- Empathy—helps us connect with others and allows us to understand feelings better
- Interpersonal skills—helps patient/team interaction and allows you to gauge moods better
- Intrapersonal skills—improves your understanding of your own thoughts, emotions and ideas
- Communication skills—improves awareness of non-verbal cues from yourself and others
By developing and utilizing these skills, you can improve, not only your social skills in and out of the workplace, but you can also strengthen your emotional intelligence.
A study published by VeryWellMind.com shows that a key component of emotional intelligence is what they call “intrinsic motivation”. People with strong EI tend to be more motivated by internal goals such as commitment, passion and enthusiasm instead of external goals such as acclaim, money and status. There is nothing wrong with working to attain any of those outside goals, but when they’re your only motivation, you can short-change yourself on empathy and performance.
Application of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence sounds like it has a lot of moving parts, but it boils down to:
- Being an active listener
- Paying attention to the people around you
- Paying attention to what and how you are feeling
In the fast-paced medical world, being able to regulate your emotions is a must.
Your team needs you; your patients are relying on you—let your self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills and motivation make you the best provider you can be.
This blog is meant for educational purposes about medical products, medical devices, and related subjects only. It contains only general information about medical products. It is not meant to be medical or clinical advice and should not be treated as such. The information contained in this blog is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties. Emergency Medical Products, Inc. (“EMP”) makes no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy of information, the products discussed, or advice given in connection with this blog. EMP is not a medical provider and is not engaged in providing medical or clinical advice. This blog may contain external links to EMP’s website where certain medical products and medical devices can be purchased from EMP.