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    How emotional intelligence can enhance the provider-patient relationship

    Adele M. Caruso, DNP, CRNPAdele M. Caruso, DNP, CRNP

    Dr. Caruso, a Urology Times blogger, is a nurse practitioner at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia.


    Communication between providers and patients is essential for an optimal patient experience. A key to such encounters is emotional intelligence.

    What is emotional intelligence (EI)? In the 1990s, the term was described by two psychology professors, John D. Mayer, PhD, of the University of New Hampshire and Peter Salovey, PhD, of Yale University as the ability to accurately perceive emotions in oneself and others, the ability to understand these emotions in the context of the relationship, the ability to facilitate reasoning, and the ability to manage emotions in oneself in emotional situations (Mayer, John D. and Salovey, Peter. “What is emotional intelligence?” Emotional development and emotional: educational implications. Ed. Peter Salovey, Ed. David J. Sluyter. New York: Basic Books, 1997. 3-31. Print.) It is reasonable to assume that familiarity, if not mastery of EI, is a major component of successful provider-patient encounters.

    What comprises emotional intelligence

    EI integrates the domains of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. The domains incorporate 12 competencies, or learned or learnable capabilities that allow for an outstanding performance. For example, self-management includes emotional self-control and adaptability, and social awareness incorporates empathy and organizational awareness.

    Also by Adele M. Caruso, DNP, CRNP: Redefining the culture of NP-physician collaboration

    There are a number of formal EI models. The most useful models include comprehensive 360-degree assessments that collect self-ratings and views of others who know you well (Surg Endosc 2017; 31:3565-73). EI is a concept embraced by businesspeople, educators, and yes, medical professionals. It is particularly significant as a part of our professional education, as it may promote compassionate, safe, and high-quality care.

    Next: EI and the Myers-Briggs personality test


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