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

Snowden, Austyn; Stenhouse, Rosie; Young, Jenny; Carver, Hannah; Carver, Fiona; Brown, Norrie


Rosie Stenhouse

Jenny Young

Hannah Carver

Fiona Carver

Norrie Brown


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 b .001; SEIS, U= 44,744, z=−5.563, p b .001]. Nursing students scored higher that
computing students [TEIQ-SF H(5)= 46,496, p b .001; SEIS H(5)= 33.309, p b 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 higheremotional intelligence.Mindfulness training was associated with higher ‘ability’ emotional intelligence. Implications for recruitment, retention and further research are explored.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 9, 2014
Online Publication Date Sep 19, 2014
Publication Date 2015-01
Deposit Date Mar 31, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 16, 2018
Journal Nurse Education Today
Print ISSN 0260-6917
Electronic ISSN 1532-2793
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 1
Pages 152-158
Keywords Emotional intelligence, Caring, Mindfulness, Recruitment, Nursing and midwifery, Attributes, Ability, Trait
Public URL
Contract Date Feb 16, 2018


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