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6 Reasons Nursing Students Should Build Emotional Intelligence Skills

Written by CB Community

Present-day nurses possess exceptional technical knowledge and actively partake in scientific research, which has led to the advancement of the healthcare industry.

However, the healthcare industry is now focusing on nurses’ overall well-being, as they make up a significant percentage of the workforce.

More than ever, their health and well-being are necessary to keep the facility working to provide high-quality healthcare services.

For this reason, the industry now demands nurses that are emotionally intelligent on top of every other essential nursing skill

Emotional intelligence can be explained as a person’s ability to recognize their emotions, understand them, and manage them effectively.

Moreover, it also includes the ability to recognize someone else’s emotions, understand them, and influence them accordingly.

As nursing happens to be a highly patient-centric profession, emotional intelligence helps nurses deal with the highs and lows of their work. 

The Major Components of Emotional Intelligence

Some major components of emotional intelligence include:

  • Self-awareness
  • Motivation
  • Control over emotions
  • Empathy
  • Ability to maintain relationships

These elements can determine the success and health of a nurse and, ultimately, the well-being of the patients under their care.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Nursing 

If you’re an RN, then emotional intelligence may as well be your most valuable asset. As a nurse, you’ll have to fulfill various roles, and your daily activities will widely vary from others.

In addition to that, nurses aspiring for higher leadership positions are compelled to hone emotional intelligence skills.

For this purpose, they can pursue higher academic programs online as they instill essential leadership skills alongside boosting emotional intelligence.

Nowadays, the doctorate nurse practitioner program is gaining widespread recognition since it accelerates career growth alongside sharpening critical skills.

Therefore, enrolling in online DNP programs will allow you to develop emotional intelligence, all the while propelling your career advancement prospects. 

You’ll undoubtedly need emotional intelligence to handle routine work and manage unforeseen events. 

1. Establishes Patient Trust

Empathy is a key skill in emotional intelligence, and it plays a significant role in establishing the patient-nurse relationship.

If you deal with the patient with empathy, they are more likely to trust you and your judgment for their well-being. As a result, they will religiously adhere to the treatment and care plan you make for them. 

Moreover, the trust between the patient and nurse also makes them cooperate with the nurse willingly, making the treatment process smooth.

2. Impacts Patient Safety 

One of the principal reasons medical errors occur is due to lack of communication between the nurse and patient or intercommunication with colleagues.

As a result, medical errors happen to be the leading cause of negligence and malpractice cases in healthcare setups

Since emotional intelligence boosts awareness, it allows healthcare professionals to remain alert and improve communication lines. Therefore, this aspect is also concerned with emotional intelligence.

However, emotional intelligence also means that nurses maintain their emotional and mental stability. 

When they can perform with a clear head even under stressful situations, they can communicate more openly and easily. Thus, emotional intelligence indirectly but significantly impacts patient safety.

3. Improved Physical and Emotional Wellness 

Nurses who have emotional intelligence skills are more physically and emotionally healthy. The reason is that nursing is a physically and mentally taxing job.

Nurses have to stay up on their feet all day long and deal with numerous sick patients throughout the day. These aspects can take an emotional toll on the health and well-being of a routine nurse.

Nonetheless, nurses who sharpen their emotional intelligence skills and regulate their emotions effectively can deal with stressful situations without letting them take a toll on them.

They can better define their limits, empathize with the patient, and regulate their emotions actively. 

Moreover, emotionally intelligent nurses are more likely to maintain a healthy lifestyle outside the healthcare facility.

4. Improved Retention 

Nursing retention is a major issue in the healthcare industry. The main reason is that nursing is a stressful and demanding job. Nurses have to work gruelingly long shifts and sometimes don’t get any rest at all.

Besides, dealing with patients suffering, in pain, and watching them die can be a traumatizing experience for anyone

For this reason, healthcare facilities now prefer to hire nurses who have emotional intelligence skills and know-how to operate in stressful situations. 

Moreover, they know how to handle emotionally taxing situations during their duty, making them more suitable for the profession

Indeed, nurses who have higher emotional intelligence are more likely to retain their job for a long time than others.

5. Lower Levels of Burnout

Another alarming issue among nurses is excessive burnout due to occupational fatigue and other workplace challenges such as the COVID-19.

Burnout is typically defined as a feeling when all your energy levels deplete and you experience intense levels of exhaustion. It also causes stress, anxiety, sleeping issues, leading to chronic health conditions.

The long work hours and tough working conditions lead to work burnout for nurses, which impacts their professional performance and health. 

For this reason, healthcare facilities prefer to hire individuals with high emotional intelligence skills, as these people understand their limits.

Nonetheless, healthcare organizations should also be wary of burnout among nurses and limit their work burden. 

6. Self-awareness, Emotional Control, and Motivation

Emotional intelligence is beneficial in more ways than just caring for patients. It proves as a vital quality for self-preservation.

Hence, self-awareness helps in emotional control and ensures that individuals assess their mental state. Doing so helps them protect their mental health and perform better in every aspect of life.

Likewise, motivation is another significant factor related to emotional intelligence. It’s the internal drive of a person to achieve their goals.

Nursing and motivation go hand-in-hand, and nurses need internal motivation to expand their specialties and expertise and aim for career progression.

In this case, emotional intelligence helps them make lucrative career choices, stemming from the element of self-awareness. 


Nurses are undeniably the backbone of the healthcare industry. For this reason, they have to be exceptionally skilled and equipped to handle any situation that comes their way.

Admittedly, nursing is a challenging profession, and it requires one to possess many skills.

However, it’s also rewarding and results in a fulfilling career.

Therefore, honing emotional intelligence is indispensable to thrive in this lucrative career.  

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.