Year

2019

Degree Name

Master of Philosophy

Department

School of Nursing

Abstract

Introduction: Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy or radiation oncology, has become increasingly used for the management of cancer. Administering radiation therapy is a complex procedure and involves the accurate planning, dosimetry and delivery of the prescribed radiation dose to obtain optimal patient outcomes. The prolonged radiation treatment regimes, rapid advancements in technology, changes to the healthcare setting and increased responsibilities relating to patient care held by radiation therapists (RTs) have resulted in increased levels of stress among RTs. Additionally, RTs are required to have empathy and compassion, and to acknowledge the patient’s vulnerability when providing care within this stressful environment. There is limited evidence investigating emotional intelligence (EI) among RTs. Therefore, the aim of this thesis was to explore the demographic predictors of emotional intelligence among RTs working in cancer care centres in New South Wales, Australia.

Methods: A cross-sectional self-administered survey was implemented to collect data. The Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire–Short version (TEIQue-SF) was used to measure emotional intelligence. Multiple regression analysis was used to identify if age, years of experience as a RT, sex, highest level of education obtained or level of current employment were predictors of EI in the population sample.

Results: A total of 205 RTs participated in this study. The mean score for global emotional intelligence was 5.16 (SD = 0.6) and the scores for the emotionality, self-control, wellbeing and sociability dimensions were 5.3 (SD = 0.7), 4.9 (SD = 0.9), 5.7 (SD = 0.8) and 4.7 (SD = 0.8), respectively. The predictors of global EI were age and highest level of current employment. Younger age was a significant predictor of the global dimension and higher levels of employment was a significant predictor of the global and sociability dimension. Sex was a significant predictor of the emotionality dimension and higher levels of education was a significant predictor of the emotionality and sociability dimension. None of the demographic variables were significant predictors of the self-control and wellbeing dimensions.

Conclusions: Predictors of EI included being a young RT, female, having higher levels of employment and higher levels of education. As level of education and level of employment are both amendable demographic factors, strategies to enhance these EI predictors and to reduce the effects of emotional struggle experienced by RTs in their work should be implemented. Further research must be undertaken to identify why older RTs have lower levels of lower EI.

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Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.