Do emotional intelligence and previous caring experience influence student nurse performance? A comparative analysis


Stenhouse R, Snowden A, Young J, Carver F, Carver H & Brown N (2016) Do emotional intelligence and previous caring experience influence student nurse performance? A comparative analysis. Nurse Education Today, 43, pp. 1-9.

Background  Reports of poor nursing care have focused attention on values based selection of candidates onto nursing programmes. Values based selection lacks clarity and valid measures. Previous caring experience might lead to better care. Emotional intelligence (EI) might be associated with performance, is conceptualised and measurable.  Objectives  To examine the impact of 1) previous caring experience, 2) emotional intelligence 3) social connection scores on performance and retention in a cohort of first year nursing and midwifery students in Scotland.  Design  A longitudinal, quasi experimental design.  Setting  Adult and mental health nursing, and midwifery programmes in a Scottish University.  Methods  Adult, mental health and midwifery students (n=598) completed the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire-short form and Schutte's Emotional Intelligence Scale on entry to their programmes at a Scottish University, alongside demographic and previous caring experience data. Social connection was calculated from a subset of questions identified within the TEIQue-SF in a prior factor and Rasch analysis. Student performance was calculated as the mean mark across the year. Withdrawal data were gathered.  Results  598 students completed baseline measures. 315 students declared previous caring experience, 277 not. An independent-samples t-test identified that thosewithoutprevious caring experience scored higher on performance (57.33±11.38) than those with previous caring experience (54.87±11.19), a statistically significant difference of 2.47 (95% CI, 0.54 to 4.38),t(533)=2.52,p=.012. Emotional intelligence scores were not associated with performance. Social connection scores for those withdrawing (mean rank=249) and those remaining (mean rank=304.75) were statistically significantly different,U=15,300,z=−2.61,p$_amp_$lt;0.009.  Conclusions  Previous caring experience led to worse performance in this cohort. Emotional intelligence was not a useful indicator of performance. Lower scores on the social connection factor were associated with withdrawal from the course.

Emotional intelligence; Student nurse; Pre-registration; Performance; Previous caring experience; Longitudinal

Nurse Education Today: Volume 43

Publication date31/08/2016
Publication date online30/04/2016
Date accepted by journal20/04/2016