The role of the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) blends leadership and advanced clinical practice to improve patient care, nursing practice, and organizational outcomes. Successful role implementation as a CNS is dependent on a multitude of factors, including clinical knowledge and skills, individual and group leadership skills, effective communication, and the ability to influence change.1(p13) A leadership skill critical to the success of the CNS and the organization, yet often overlooked, is emotional competence. The focus of this article is to describe the essential role that emotional competence plays in successful CNS practice, provide tools for self-assessment and development, and discuss implications for nurse leaders.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to assess an individual’s and others’ emotions through emotional awareness, discern the impact of those emotions, and then use that information to positively affect behavior.2,3  Another way to describe...

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