Clinical Evaluation: An Essential Tool in Emotional Competency Development

By Kandy Smith, Joseph Farmer, Noretta Walls and Aaron Gilligan.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Clinical education is a critical part of preparing health care providers for practice. The ability to manage self and others are not only valuable skills, but foundational to the development of five core competencies outlined in the Institute of Medicine’s landmark publication, Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality (2003). These core competencies include providing patient-centered care, working as an interdisciplinary team, employing evidence-based practice, applying quality improvement methods, and utilizing informatics. Technical skills and knowledge specific to the discipline remain fundamental to health professions education: the skills grounded in emotional competence that are required to manage self and others and that are essential to the delivery of excellent patient care. However, complex challenges inherent in the health care system have forced educators to contemplate the hidden curriculum embedded in clinical education. Traditionally, emotional competencies may have been placed under the umbrella called, “professionalism”; a term often overused and under-explained by nursing faculty when communicating about soft skills, or emotional competencies. Performance criteria inherent to “professionalism” such as self-awareness, initiative, empathy, conflict management, integrity, team management and other emotional competencies commonly referred to as “soft people skills” are typically missing from the evaluation checklist. In fact, these “soft people skills” are often cited as noticeably missing from nursing practice by administrators. Although educators may have less trouble evaluating traditional nursing skills and application of nursing knowledge to practice, the evaluation of emotional competencies can present more difficulty. Articulation of desired competencies must be clear in order to communicate expectations to students. Daniel Goleman’s framework is useful for identifying and describing emotional competencies as part of the clinical evaluation. Goleman’s Framework serves as the backdrop to explore the evaluation of personal and social competencies in clinical nursing education.

Keywords: Health Professions Education, Emotional Intelligence, Competency, Clinical Evaluation

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 7, pp.297-306. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 609.764KB).

Dr. Kandy Smith

Associate Professor, College of Nursing, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, USA

Kandy Smith is an Associate Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. Her nursing career spans 24 years and includes practice in the ICU as a nurse and clinical nurse specialist, and in staff development before joining academia 14 years ago. Kandy received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Masters in Nursing from Emory University and a Doctorate of Nursing Science from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. Having taught across the curriculum in both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, Dr. Smith is passionate about developing emotional competencies in nursing students and nurses in practice. She participated as a Fellow in the Helene Fuld Leadership Initiative in Nursing Education Fellowship, and has presented numerous workshops, papers and posters on the subject of developing social and emotional competencies. Research interests include leadership development and implications for social and emotional competency development in nurses and patients.

Joseph Farmer

Assistant Clinical Professor, College of Nursing, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, USA

Joseph Farmer is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama, USA. He has completed nine years of teaching in various courses in the undergraduate nursing program, from Foundations of Professional in the first semester, Nursing Issues and Leadership in the fourth semester, through Aggregate Professional Nursing Care in the fifth and final semester. Mr. Farmer’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a Master of Science in Nursing with a major in Community Health, and he is currently a PhD candidate in International Development. As a registered nurse, Mr. Farmer has worked as an emergency room staff nurse, clinical educator in hospital education, a research nurse, and a nursing instructor. He has also completed certification as an AIDS Care Registered Nurse. Research, presentations, and areas of interest include community health, HIV/AIDS, cultural diversity, and underrepresented populations. Mr. Farmer is a member of numerous professional nursing organizations, including the Transcultural Nursing Society and Association of Nurse in AIDS Care.

Noretta Walls

Clinical Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, USA

Noretta Walls is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama, USA. She has completed over 10 years as a psychiatric nursing educator at both the associate and baccalaureate levels. She has taught Nursing Research for both the undergraduate students and the online RN-BSN students. Ms. Wall’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Community Mental Health Nursing. She is a Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult Psychiatric Nursing and is currently preparing to enter the Doctorate of Nursing Practice program at the University of South Alabama. Noretta is a member of numerous professional nursing organizations, including the American Nurses Association, Alabama Nurses Association, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, and Sigma Theta Tau. Research and presentation areas of interest include Stress Management, Group Therapy conducted by psychiatric nurses, and Creative Clinical Education for undergraduate nursing students.

Aaron Gilligan

Assistant Clinical Professor, College of Nursing, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, USA

Aaron Gilligan is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama, USA. She brings 22 years of nursing practice including critical care nursing, nursing management, and staff development to the undergraduate nursing classroom and clinical experiences. Aaron received both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of South Alabama. Ms. Gilligan’s research interests include nursing and healthcare education, specifically utilization and enhancement of patient simulation.

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