Trait emotional intelligence: a strategy for managing nurses’ affective wellbeing at work

PhD thesis


Leliopoulou, C. 2020. Trait emotional intelligence: a strategy for managing nurses’ affective wellbeing at work. PhD thesis Middlesex University Health, Social Care and Education
TypePhD thesis
TitleTrait emotional intelligence: a strategy for managing nurses’ affective wellbeing at work
AuthorsLeliopoulou, C.
Abstract

Background: Contemporary nursing is ambitious but also challenging. The nursing profession has been changing faster than ever before and nurses are faced with new challenges they need to handle carefully if nursing as a profession is to be reformed. Nurses are called up to undertake complex and challenging roles in health care which they found significantly demanding and demoralising in the current shortage of nursing staff across the NHS. Nurses increasingly report leaving the profession because of ill health, anxiety and stress at work. Aims: To explore nurses’ perceptions of their wellbeing and discuss related issues such as their work environment, their jobs and their roles in the team, and to inform and shape the development of an intervention to help nurses develop further their trait emotional intelligence. This thesis argues that trait emotional intelligence is sensitive to training and can be developed in short ‘bite size’ chunks to allow nurses to benefit from the training and grow their trait emotional intelligence attitudes and behaviours to protect nurses’ affective wellbeing at work and home, but also keep stress at bay. Design: This is a mixed sequential exploratory research study and consisted of phase 1 (exploratory study) and Phase II (quasi-experimental study). Findings: This thesis found that trait emotional intelligence is connected to positive perceived affective wellbeing and other health outcomes. A transitional model for nurses’ affective wellbeing was supported in phase II of this thesis. Nurses reported experiencing emotional and role dissonance in their job which were reflected in their negative self-talk reported in the discussion groups analysed in phase I of this thesis. Nurses identified several negative emotions and feelings associated with their current work environment, as they described their jobs and roles as heavy emotional work. Interestingly, nurses reported struggling to navigate relationships and feeling isolated and disillusioned in their jobs. This thesis incorporated phase I, an exploratory study (the qualitative component), and Phase II, a quasi- experimental study (the quantitative component).
In total, 84 nurses participated in Phase II of this research. They were allocated into an intervention (n=35) and a control group (n=48). There were two data collection points at T1 (baseline measures) and at T2 (six to eight weeks after the intervention) and the interpersonal awareness training included an action plan with clear, self-identified goals based on coaching conversations. Neuroticism was found to be moderated significantly post training which in effect mediated feelings of anxiety and depression and self-perceived affective wellbeing at work were reduced significantly in the intervention group. Discussion: This interpersonal awareness training was designed as a short developmental strategy for improving nurses’ perceived affective wellbeing. The mode of delivery of this training aimed at strengthening nurses’ emotional agility in a pace that was also acceptable to the needs of the nurse at any time in their career. This training may also benefit student nurses and other healthcare professionals, such as midwives and midwifery students, who share similar job characteristics and are under similar demands and pressures to those of nurses.

Sustainable Development Goals3 Good health and well-being
Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
Department nameHealth, Social Care and Education
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print09 Aug 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Aug 2022
Accepted08 Jun 2020
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
LanguageEnglish
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