Emotion recognition by mental health professionals and students
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Emotion recognition by mental health professionals and students

Henry Minardi Retired consultant nurse, Liaison psychiatry for older adults, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust

Aim To examine the ability of mental health professionals and mental health nursing students from a London university and a nursing institute in the Sultanate of Oman to identify emotions correctly.

Method Categorical data were collected using the Dynamic Emotion Recognition Instrument (DERI) (Minardi 2012). DERI scores were converted to proportions of correct responses for each participant to produce ratio data. Results were analysed using the non-parametric Mann-Whitney U test because data were not normally distributed.

Findings Mental health professionals were significantly better than nursing students from the London university at identifying emotions from non-verbal communication; however, there was no significant difference between mental health professionals and nursing students from the nursing institute. Nursing students from the nursing institute were significantly better at identifying emotions than nursing students from the London university. Nursing students from the nursing institute who were in their third term of study were better at identifying emotions than nursing institute students in their first term.

Conclusion Training can improve the ability of nurses to identify emotions from non-verbal communication. The DERI could be used in nurse education to quantify the ability of nurses pre and post-registration to identify emotions and to help nursing students learn this skill.

Nursing Standard. 27, 25,41-48. doi: 10.7748/ns2013.02.27.25.41.e6319

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Received: 24 February 2012

Accepted: 02 August 2012