1. Blackwelder, Julie RN

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As a cardiac nurse on a step-down unit, I often encounter patients and families who are feeling very vulnerable ("Could Emotional Intelligence Make Patients Safer?" July 2017).


I have recently started orienting a new graduate nurse and this new role has made me see things differently. I'm learning from this new graduate about how I can teach more than cardiac nursing. It's important that we learn to control our emotions and help those around us to manage theirs during high stress situations.


Recently, I had a patient who was sent to the ICU following a rapid response for respiratory distress. The physician was speaking with the patient and his wife about the poor prognosis. I had a new graduate nurse with me who was still in orientation. As I was trying to comfort the wife as she listened to the physician, I noticed my orientee was crying. I gave her an excuse to step out of the waiting room while I remained with my patient's wife. When I was able to leave my patient and his wife, I went to find my orientee. She was embarrassed and still upset. I tried to reassure and encourage her.


I've been thinking about this event ever since. I want to improve my skills as a preceptor and coworker. In focusing primarily on dealing with my patients and their family members, I feel I have not focused enough on improving my ability to encourage new nurses. In order to help these new nurses improve their emotional intelligence, we must first improve our own.


It's important to help new nurses gain the necessary skills to manage their emotions in high-stress situations. Developing or improving emotional intelligence can help experienced and new nurses interact with patients and coworkers. This article really helped me see another way to grow as a nurse and help those who I am tasked to guide into this wonderful career.


Julie Blackwelder, RN


Mt. Pleasant, NC