March 2010                                           VOL. Cl No. 3

<< Previous Page

Emotional Quotient Scores Over Intelligence Quotient
Triza Jiwan

Like it or not, emotions are an intrinsic part of our biological makeup and every morning they march into the office or workplace with us and influence our behaviour. Golman (2005) mentions that emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) accounts for 80 percent of success and it outperforms intelligence quotient or cognitive intelligence (IQ) in predicting academic achievement. IQ is, of course important; but having just enough of it is not sufficient to hold a given job and perform well. Emotional intelligence is in the heart of every individual. Nursing is one service profession that requires a high degree of emotional labour. As an example, the nurses are expected to display emotions that convey caring, understanding and empathy towards patients and their loved ones.

EQ plays an important role in forming successful relationship. VonDietze & Orb (2000) propose that it is important for nurses to experience compassion, because it affects their decision-making and actions, contributing to excellence in the practice of nursing. Similarly, Handerson (2001) claims that emotional involvement by nurses may contribute to the quality care, because majority perceive.

The author is Professor and Principal, College of Nursing, CMC & Hospital, Ludhiana (Punjab).

emotional engagement as a requirement of excellence in nursing practice. Thus, it seems that emotions are not to be dismissed; but, rather, have an important place in the quality of care one can provide. Evans & Allen (2002) acknowledge that nurses’ ability to manage their own emotions and to understand those of their patients is an asset in providing care. Modern nursing demands skill of EQ to meet the need of direct patient care and co-operative negotiations with the multidisciplinary team.

Emotional quotient also helps to gain awareness and control of one’s emotions in the workplace. It can show how to improve performance, personally and professionally. A high EQ can improve decision-making by using one’s heart and not just one’s head.

There are five areas of emotional quotient: (i) Self-awareness; (ii) Self regulations; (iii) Motivation; (iv) Empathy; and (v) Social-skills.

1. Self-awareness
The ability to recognise and understand your moods, emotions and drives as well as their effect on others; e.g., I can name my greatest strengths.

2. Self-regulation
The ability to control or redirect destructible impulses and moods and ability to suspend judgement and thinking before acting; e.g. I am calm even in tense situations.

3. Motivation

A passion to work for reasons that go beyond monetary gains or status and the ability to pursue goals with energy and persistence; e.g. I seek out innovative ways of getting the jobs done.

4. Empathy

The ability to understand emotional make-up of other people; e.g. I can sense someone’s true feelings based on their body language.

5. Social Skills

The proficiency in managing relationships and building networks; e.g., I find it easy to establish common ground with somebody I have just met.
The nursing profession demands the nurses, in the process of care, to interact with the patients, the medical fraternity and the health-care workers constantly. Hence, intra-personal relationship is the pulse of nursing practice. Nurses should develop skills to assess patients’ responses to illness by means of self-awareness of the events, empathy with patients, and above all the genuine concern for their well-being.

Factors that influence nurses’ applications of emotional intelligence include gender, age and health condition of the patients. For example, it is difficult to properly interact with an elderly patient with impaired hearing or diminished perception despite genuine willingness on the part of the nurses for the same, who have

to find alternate interaction non-verbal means like patientdirected eye gaze, affirmative head nod, smiling, leaning forward, touch and instrumental touch for the purpose – which would come handy to the nurses if they are emotionally strong.

Anne (2004) concluded that the modern day demands of nursing depend on the skills of emotional intelligence to achieve a patient-centred care. There is no doubt that emotional intelligence in nursing leads to more positive attitudes, greater adaptability, improved relationships and increased orientation towards positive values (Kristin & Elisabeth, 2007). A clear relation between emotional intelligence and adaptive success has been detected in nurses caring for people with mental retardation.

Emotional intelligence plays a pivotal role in building mental health of the nurses, which in turn affects the quality of nursing care being imparted by them, as an emotionally healthy nurse will always perform better. A study conducted with 180 Dutch nurses
using the Bar-on-Emotional Quotient Inventory, Utrecht- Coping List, Utrecht-Burnout Scale, MMPI-2, and GAMA has revealed the importance of emotional intelligence in reducing nurse burnout (Linda Gerits, 2004). Kristin & Elisabeth (2004) likewise conclude their study with mental health nurses that emotional intelligence stimulates the search for a deeper understanding of a professional mental health nursing identity.

It is therefore imperative that due importance be given to EQ in nursing training and curriculum; as it provides the ability to take optimal advantage of one’s innate capabilities by regulating and making use of one’s own emotions; which would add to the strengths of the nursing professionals and bring about qualitative improvements in the area of deliverance of nursing care to the patients as well as their interaction with other members of healthcare teams. The quality of relationships within an organisation significantly impacts productivity or the quality
of the product itself and health care organisations are no exception.


1. Anne CH, McQueen (2004). Emotional intelligence in nursing work, Journal of Advanced Nursing; 47 (1); 101-108
2. Goleman D (2005). Emotional Intelligence: Correcting Common Misconception about Emotional Intelligence, London, Bloomsburry Publishing
3. Henderson A (2001). Emotional Labour & Nursing: An under appreciated aspect of caring work. Nursing Enquiry 8(2): 130-38
4. Kristin Akerjordet, Elisabeth Severinsson (2004). Nurses Talking about Practice. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing; 13(3): 164-70
5. Kristin Akerjordet, Elizabeth Severinsson (2007). Emotional intelligence: A review of the literature with specific focus on empirical and epistemological perspectives. Journal of Clinical Nursing; 16(8): 1405-16
6. Linda Gerits, Jan Derksen, Antoine Verbruggen (2004). Emotional intelligence and adaptive success of nurses caring for people with mental retardation and severe behavior problems. Mental Retardation: 42(2): 106- 21
7. Von Dietze E, Orb A (2000). Compassionate care: A new dimension of nursing. Nursing Enquiry 7(3): 166-74


Trained Nurses' Association of India (TNAI)