In your training, most of your coursework is based on the premise of helping you gain competency. Unfortunately, competency in handling physical tasks is not necessarily enough to make you a truly outstanding nurse or health care worker. Knowing how to transfer patients safely from their bed to a wheelchair or taking accurate vitals doesn’t come in handy when it comes to satisfying the emotional requirements of the job.

Keeping this concept in mind, it’s crucial that you take an emotional inventory of sorts, in efforts to discover if you really have what it takes to be a certified nurse aide. These five areas of emotional competency may not be intrinsic to your nature – however, most of them can be learned and mastered with practice and experience.

Self-Awareness and Regard for Others

If you have the ability to recognize your feelings accurately, you probably can safely say that you have a high emotional IQ. Understanding what you are feeling when dealing with a complicated situation on the job will help you better deal with the patient in many aspects. Essentially, recognition of your emotions is the first step in adequately masking your displeasure of feelings of hurt when an uncooperative patient gives you problems. Many experienced nurses are able to handle these circumstances in the same fashion as they deal with children: patience and a straight face.

This leads to the second element of the equation – how are your reactions and responses making the patient feel. Do you have the ability to look beyond your emotions to ultimately realize the affect on your charge? If you feel as though you are not so skilled in the emotional IQ department, don’t panic! There are plenty of resources available to help you learn how to master your emotions, and time on the job may well prove to be the best teacher.

Mood Management – Yours and Others

Part of possessing high emotional intelligence involves controlling your impulses and dealing with any uprising anger constructively, whether the discontent be yours or the patient’s. As with any job, expressing negative emotions can be a firing offense, so the ability to control them is instrumental to maintaining a good standing with your employer – not to mention relations with the patients.

According to many experienced nurses, they have had experiences where they fully believed that they were masking their anger, only to receive a reprimand from their supervisor later on. Even though they were keeping a straight face, the patient’s seem to have the ability to tell through very subtle cues about their displeasure. This is not surprising so much, is it? Just because a person is ill or elderly, it doesn’t mean that they are not astute enough to see through a thin veil put out to attempt masking your anger. Even the best health care workers have to work on their ability to manage their moods successfully, which means they don’t have to hide their feelings whatsoever.


What really motivates you and pushes you to achieve your best work? If it’s financial gain, you might not be looking into the right career. Although nursing salaries is quite good, it certainly will not make you wealthy beyond your imagination. This particular job is one that you really need to like on some intrinsic level and truly enjoy. Certainly, no job is a trip to Disney World, but if you do not genuinely care about the well being of the patients, this is no arena for you to enter. Before heading to work every day, a nurse needs to possess the ability to work towards the goal of having a successful, productive day with a positive attitude.


This is one that you either have or you don’t. Do you truly feel sad when friends and family are having problems? Can you realistically say that you care about the well-being of others? Then you’ve got what it takes to work in the medical profession as a RN, LNP, CNA, HHA, or hospice and palliative caregiver. For example, if you have a grouchy or reluctant patient, you might have the natural inclination to see beyond their anger and irritation, and have an understanding of the reasons behind their irritation. Things such as loneliness, despair, and fear often fuel client hostility. Being able to put yourself in another person’s shoes will help you easily manage many of the other aspects of emotional intelligence.

Managing Relationships

Employment as a nurse is all about relationships – with patients, their families, and your co-workers and supervisors. These relationships will often test your ability to resolve conflicts, as well as your ability to cooperate with the members of the clinical team. Working well with others is the only way to ensure that every patient receives the care and dignity they deserve, after all, it’s their troubles or situation that is ultimately paying your salary.

Can You Do It?

As you can see, there is much more involved in being a successful nurse beyond performing task-associated duties, and it takes more than two working hands to be considered competent within this rewarding field. The more in touch you are with your emotional competency, the better your job performance and satisfaction will be. You’ll be able to communicate more effectively, boast a higher level of productivity, and manage changes more efficiently. Again, if you don’t have all of these skills mastered, don’t be discouraged! You will learn in time, as long as you have the willingness to try, you might find it easier to reach a higher emotional IQ than you think with the right experience.