Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Duane M. Covrig

Second Advisor

Isadore Newman

Third Advisor

Margaret Faut-Callahan

Abstract

Problem. The purpose of this cross-sectional correlational study was to explore the relationship between emotional intelligence and personal and academic factors of nurse anesthesia students at three points in a program: matriculation, at one year of study, and in the last semester of study and the relationship of these to clinical scores and national certification examination (NCE) scores.

Method. An ex-post-facto cross-sectional study design was used to gather data at three critical times in nurse anesthesia (NA) programs to explore the relationships between emotional intelligence scores, preadmission demographics, clinical scores, and NCE scores.

Results. Data from 216 nurse anesthesia students from four accredited nurse anesthesia programs in the southeastern United States were used to create descriptive statistics, factor loadings, correlations, and multiple linear regressions. Descriptive data showed participants had a mean age of 31, were primarily Caucasian (85.1%), were about evenly distributed between the three cohorts, and had a mean acute care experience of 3.42 years. Preadmission overall GPA (OGPA) mean was 3.46, and science GPA (SGPA) mean was 3.42. The mean quantitative GRE score was 585, and the verbal GRE mean score was 496.

Multiple regression was completed on preadmission scores, EI scores, and clinical scores in predicting NCE scores. After Bonferroni correction, three EI variables, Facilitation Task, Sensations Task, and Facilitating Branch, one academic variable, Nurse Anesthesia GPA, and one clinical variable, didactic transference, were predictive of NCE scores. Although not directly predictive of NCE scores, one preadmission variable, overall GPA, was predictive of the EI variables, academic variable, NA GPA, and the clinical variable, didactic transference.

Conclusions. Several conclusions and recommendations can be made from this study. First, application of didactic knowledge to the clinical setting appears to be tied to success on the NCE. In this study, the NA GPA, the Facilitating branch of EI, and theability to transfer didactic knowledge to the clinical setting were predictive of NCE scores. The preadmission OGPA was predictive of all of these variables and should be considered a primary admission criterion.

Emotional intelligence measures therefore seem to provide some corroborating data for predicting success. However, this study provided only a first step to exploring the usefulness of EI in nurse anesthesia programming. In light of the finding in this study that transfer of didactic knowledge predicts NCE scores, it may be that more closely evaluating the clinical criteria as the student progresses through the NA program will help in predicting the student's success on the NCE.

This cross-sectional study was not longitudinal and could not show progress of studentsover time, but helped the researcher provide useful data to inform future research on the use of EI measures as predictors of NA program success. Future research could build on this cross-sectional study, especially research that uses a longitudinal design. Longitudinal studies could examine EI changes in students over the course of their NA program. Longitudinal studies could also examine the EI makeup of students at application and admission and those who attrition from NA programs. Research could also focus on theeffect of EI training within the NA curriculum and on how EI training affects student performance.

Subject Area

Nurse anesthetists, Nursing students, Nursing--Study and teaching, Emotional intelligence

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