Rand Afrikaans University. Department of Nursing Sciences
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Nursing and Midwifery/Clinical Nursing and Midwifery Research Centre
Critical-care nurses often look after three or more critically-ill patients during a shift. The workload and emotional stress can lead to disharmony between the nurse’s body, mind and spirit. Nurses with a high emotional intelligence have less emotional exhaustion and psychosomatic symptoms; they enjoy better emotional health; gain more satisfaction from their actions (both at work and at home); and have improved relationships with colleagues at work. The question arises: what is the emotional intelligence of critical-care nurses? A quantitative survey was conducted. The target population was registered nurses working in critical-care units who attended the Critical Care Congress 2009 (N = 380). Data were collected with the use of the Trait Emotional Intelligence Short Form and analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences software. The sample (n = 220) was mainly a mature, female and professionally-experienced group of registered nurses. They held a variety of job descriptions within various critical-care units. Statistics indicated that the standard deviations were small and no aberrant aspects such as demographics skewed the findings. The conclusion was made that registered nurses who are older and that have more experience in critical care appear to have a higher range of emotional intelligence.