Vol. 18 No. 2 (2014): Journal of Nursing Pensar Enfermagem
Original Articles

Emotional competence of the nurse: the significance of the construct

Sandra Xavier
Professora Adjunta, Escola Superior de Saúde IPBeja, MSc, RN
Lucília Nunes
Professora Coordenadora, Escola Superior de Saúde IPSetúbal, PhD, MSc, RN
Marta Lima Basto
Professora Coordenadora, Aposentada, PhD, MSc, RN

Published 2014-12-30


  • Discourse analysis,
  • emotional competence,
  • nurse,
  • significance,
  • end of life

How to Cite

Xavier, S. ., Nunes, L., & Lima Basto, M. (2014). Emotional competence of the nurse: the significance of the construct. Pensar Enfermagem, 18(2), 3–19. https://doi.org/10.56732/pensarenf.v18i2.93


In recent decades the studies on the topic of emotions in nursing has focused mainly on the emotional experience of patients and nurses, which left the field of research open for studies focusing on the emotional competence of nurses. The context of end of life is full of feelings, sensations and emotions that are difficult for nurses to manage so it has become key to underline the emotional scenarios important in providing comfort care during this phase of the life cycle . The purpose of this study is to help clarify the meaning of emotional competence development in professional practice while assuming that the main objective is to provide comfort care to patients admitted to palliative care units. Considering the problem and objectives in the study, we decided to apply a qualitative methodological framework with a descriptive and exploratory nature. The subjects under consideration are nurses and patients experiencing end of life, and who have agreed to participate in the study through semi-structured interviews. The inherent ethical procedures have been secured and protected. For the analysis of the phenomenon under study, the speeches were analysed
using critical discourse analysis of Fairclough. Conclusion: The study output was a construct called ‘emotional competence of nurses’. This construct encompasses a set of capabilities that allow us to know, regulate, manage and achieve emotional phenomena in order to build and maintain interpersonal relationships in an affective environment. It bases itself around five dimensions, and it also becomes five capabilities.


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