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The relationship between emotional intelligence, previous caring experience and mindfulness in student nurses and midwives: A cross sectional analysis

Citation
Snowden A, Stenhouse R, Young J, Carver H, Carver F & Brown N (2015) The relationship between emotional intelligence, previous caring experience and mindfulness in student nurses and midwives: A cross sectional analysis, Nurse Education Today, 35 (1), pp. 152-158.

Abstract
Background 

Emotional Intelligence (EI), previous caring experience and mindfulness training may have a positive impact on nurse education. More evidence is needed to support the use of these variables in nurse recruitment and retention. 
Objective 
To explore the relationship between EI, gender, age, programme of study, previous caring experience and mindfulness training. 
Design 
Cross sectional element of longitudinal study. 
Setting and participants 
938 year one nursing, midwifery and computing students at two Scottish Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) who entered their programme in September 2013. 
Data 
Participants completed a measure of ‘trait’ EI: Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire Short Form (TEIQue-SF); and ‘ability’ EI: Schutte's et al. (1998) Emotional Intelligence Scale (SEIS). Demographics, previous caring experience and previous training in mindfulness were recorded. 
Methods 
Relationships between variables were tested using non-parametric tests. 
Results 
Emotional intelligence increased with age on both measures of EI [TEIQ-SF H(5) = 15.157 p = 0.001; SEIS H(5) = 11.388, p = 0.044]. Females (n = 786) scored higher than males (n = 149) on both measures [TEIQ-SF, U = 44,931, z = − 4.509, p < .001; SEIS, U = 44,744, z = − 5.563, p < .001]. Nursing students scored higher that computing students [TEIQ-SF H(5) = 46,496, p < .001; SEIS H(5) = 33.309, p < 0.001. There were no statistically significant differences in TEIQ-SF scores between those who had previous mindfulness training (n = 50) and those who had not (n = 857) [U = 22,980, z = 0.864, p = 0.388]. However, median SEIS was statistically significantly different according to mindfulness training [U = 25,115.5, z = 2.05, p = .039]. Neither measure demonstrated statistically significantly differences between those with (n = 492) and without (n = 479) previous caring experience, [TEIQ-SF, U = 112, 102, z = 0.938, p = .348; SEIS, U = 115,194.5, z = 1.863, p = 0.063]. 
Conclusions 
Previous caring experience was not associated with higher emotional intelligence. Mindfulness training was associated with higher ‘ability’ emotional intelligence. Implications for recruitment, retention and further research are explored.

Keywords
Emotional intelligence; Caring; Mindfulness; Recruitment; Nursing and midwifery; Attributes; Ability; Trait

StatusPublished
AuthorsSnowden Austyn, Stenhouse Rosie, Young Jenny, Carver Hannah, Carver Fiona, Brown Norrie
Publication date01/2015
Publication date online20/09/2014
Date accepted by journal09/09/2014
PublisherElsevier
ISSN 0260-6917
LanguageEnglish

Journal
Nurse Education Today: Volume 35, Issue 1

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