Looking for a Job With a Good Occupational Outlook?

Looking for a Job With a Good Occupational Outlook?

What do the following jobs have in common: personal care aides, registered nurses, and home health aides?

If you answered that they’re all in the healthcare sector, you’re correct. But they also have two more things in common. In addition to solid technical skills, each of these jobs requires a high emotional quotient (EQ). Moreover, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these three occupations have the highest projected job growth through 2024, when employers in the U.S. will need an additional:

  • 458,100 personal care aides
  • 439,300 registered nurses
  • 348,400 home health aides

If you want to take advantage of the growing demand for these professions, then having a high EQ can help. But what exactly is EQ, and how can you improve yours?

Emotional intelligence

EQ stands for emotional quotient, which is also referred to as emotional intelligence. It’s an umbrella term for the skills we use to empathize, understand, and work with others. For some people, these skills come naturally. For example, people who are caring and patient are often good home health aides for wards with physical disabilities. Likewise, compassionate people with good interpersonal skills frequently make outstanding personal care aides, since they can assist their wards with self-care, as well as with functioning in their communities.

EQ also refers to our ability to manage our own emotions. In a work environment, this means regulating your responses in a manner that’s appropriate to the setting. It’s fine to feel anxious, upset, angry, or even overjoyed, so long as your behavior remains professional at all times and your actions are guided by your best judgment, not your emotions. For example, nurses frequently deal with patients who display a wide range of emotions, from pain to fear to depression to anger. Nurses need to be able to empathize with those patients—yet without letting their own feelings compromise the level of professional care they provide.

Improve your EQ

Improving your EQ starts with becoming more aware of the emotions, responses, and reactions of others, as well as your own. Observe your interactions in a range of different situations, and ask questions such as:

  • Why did that person respond that way?
  • What emotion is driving his or her response or action?
  • If I knew how the other person was feeling, how would I have responded?
  • How did that situation make me feel, and why?
  • Why did I do that?
  • Was my response, reaction, or action appropriate for the situation?
  • Could I have handled the situation differently and achieved a better outcome?

By taking time to analyze and understand yourself and others, you can learn to see things from other people’s points of view while at the same time, teaching yourself to act in a more balanced, thoughtful effective manner. The result is an improved EQ, which means you’ll be better prepared to offer meaningful, caring responses throughout a myriad of professional settings and situations. And for those in the healthcare sector, well-considered responses can make a world of difference to both their colleagues and those they’re entrusted to help.