Magazine article American Nurse Today

Leadership and Women's Health

Magazine article American Nurse Today

Leadership and Women's Health

Article excerpt

* Embracing emotional intelligence for healthy leadership

AS WOMEN, we're often the main caregivers in the family--caring for children, parents, siblings, extended family, and friends. Being a caregiver is also synonymous with nursing--the caring profession--and data indicate that women comprise about 88% of the nursing workforce (Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2016). Therefore, wom en's leadership in health and health care impacts health outcomes for patients and society as a whole.


So, how does the caregiver role play out in leadership and influence how we show up in our daily walk? How is our leadership performance affected by the behavior we model? Healthy, meaningful leadership requires emotional intelligence (EI), interpersonal communication, and self-care.

Personal experience

Earlier this year, I experienced the inevitable--losing a dearly beloved mother. With no playbook to prepare you for such a loss, each person expresses grief differently. I watched and experienced the various emotional styles, expressions, communication, and overall well-being and coping skills demonstrated across my family. Intelligence changes over time; it depends on education and environment, and it's unique to each individual, but it's also influenced by culture. While grief is part of life and emotions can only be managed and not controlled, I began thinking about the importance of EI in both my personal and professional life and the importance of self-care.

The four areas of EI--self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management--were certainly tested after my mother's death. Reflecting on EI in the middle of grief allowed me to mindfully process my own pain. When I returned to work, I watched for EI among my colleagues and peers and checked my own emotions as the grieving process continued. …

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