People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they're feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people.
For Nurses, having emotional intelligence is essential for success. After all, who is more likely to succeed – a Nurse who shouts when under stress, or a Nurse who stays in control, and calmly assesses the situation?
According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped to popularize emotional intelligence, there are five key elements to it.
If you're self-aware, you always know how you feel, and you know how your emotions and your actions can affect the people around you. Being self-aware as a Nurse means having a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses , and it means behaving with humility .
So, what can you do to improve your self-awareness?
1. Keep a journal – Journals help you improve your self-awareness. If you spend just a few minutes each day writing down your thoughts, this can move you to a higher degree of self-awareness.
2. Slow down – When you experience anger or other strong emotions, slow down to examine why. Remember, no matter what the situation, you can always choose how you react to it.
Nurse who regulate themselves effectively rarely verbally attack others, make rushed or emotional decisions, stereotype people, or compromise their values. Self-regulation is all about staying in control.
So, how can you improve your ability to self-regulate?
1. Know your values – Do you have a clear idea of where you absolutely will not compromise? Do you know what values are most important to you? Spend some time examining your "code of ethics." If you know what's most important to you, then you probably won't have to think twice when you face a moral or ethical decision – you'll make the right choice.
2. Hold yourself accountable – If you tend to blame others when something goes wrong, stop. Make a commitment to admit to your mistakes and to face the consequences, whatever they are. You'll probably sleep better at night, and you'll quickly earn the respect of those around you.
3. Practice being calm – The next time you're in a challenging situation, be very aware of how you act. Do you relieve your stress by shouting at someone else? Practice deep-breathing exercises to calm yourself. Also, try to write down all of the negative things you want to say, and then rip it up and throw it away. Expressing these emotions on paper (and not showing them to anyone!) is better than speaking them aloud to your team. What's more, this helps you challenge your reactions to ensure that they're fair!
Self-motivated Nurses work consistently toward their goals, and they have extremely high standards for the quality of their work.
How can you improve your motivation?
1. Re-examine why you're doing your job – It's easy to forget what you really love about your career. So, take some time to remember why you wanted this job. If you're unhappy in your role and you're struggling to remember why you wanted it, try the Five Whys technique to find the root of the problem. Starting at the root often helps you look at your situation in a new way.
2. Know where you stand – Determine how motivated you are.
Be hopeful and find something good – Motivated Nurses are usually optimistic, no matter what problems they face. Adopting this mindset might take practice, but it's well worth the effort.
Every time you face a challenge, or even a failure, try to find at least one good thing about the situation.
For Nurses, having empathy is critical to our profession. PERIODT!
Nurses with empathy have the ability to put themselves in someone else's situation.
How can you improve your empathy?
1. Put yourself in someone else's position – It's easy to support your own point of view. After all, it's yours! But take the time to look at situations from other people's perspectives.
2. Pay attention to body language – Perhaps when you listen to someone, you cross your arms, move your feet back and forth, or bite your lip. This body language tells others how you really feel about a situation, and the message you're giving isn't positive! Learning to read body language can be a real asset in Nursing, because you'll be better able to determine how someone truly feels. This gives you the opportunity to respond appropriately.
3. Respond to feelings – You ask your co-worker to work your weekend – again. And although they agree, you can hear the disappointment in their voice. So, respond by addressing their feelings. Tell them you appreciate how willing they are for working your shift. If possible, figure out a way to work one of their weekends, and reciprocate the favor.
Nurses who do well in the social skills element of emotional intelligence are great communicators. They're just as open to hearing bad news as good news, and they're expert at getting their peers to support them and be excited about a new mission or project.
Nurses who have good social skills are also good at managing change and resolving conflicts diplomatically. They're rarely satisfied with leaving things as they are, but they don't sit back and make everyone else do the work: they set an example with their own behavior.
So, how can you build social skills?
1. Learn conflict resolution – Nurse must know how to resolve conflicts between their patients, families and their co-workers. Learning conflict resolution skills is vital if you want to succeed.
2. Improve your communication skills – How well do you communicate?
To be effective, Nurses must have a solid understanding of how their emotions and actions affect the people around them. The better Nurses relate to, and work with others, the more successful he or she will be.
Emotional Intelligence is the foundation of the Personal Preceptor Club. Being a new nurse is challenging all itself. Learning how to manage your own emotions, how you come off to others, how to protect your peace when the world is falling apart around you is how you survive nursing.
Take the time to work on self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Working on these areas will help you excel in the future. And join us in the Personal Preceptor Club!