J Adv Nurs. 2022 Dec 27. doi: 10.1111/jan.15557. Online ahead of print.
AIM: To develop an emotional intelligence (EI) test and evaluate its psychometrics for social and healthcare student selection.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional methodological design.
METHODS: The test was developed based on a systematic review and focus group interviews. Content validity was evaluated with expert panels, and preliminary psychometrics with two pilot studies. Descriptive statistics, correlations and item response theory were used.
DATA SOURCES: Search was conducted in six databases 2018. Focus group interviews were conducted with educators and professionals in 2019. Expert panels with doctoral students, researchers and educators were conducted in 2020. Pilot tests with students were conducted 2020-2021. The developed test was administered to 4808 applicants 2021.
RESULTS: The test included four subscales. Correlations support the test’s theoretical structure. The items were mainly easy.
CONCLUSION: The test assesses EI objectively and comprehensively. The item-level distractor analysis can be used for further test development.
IMPACTS: Social care and healthcare students engage in clinical practice early in their studies, and these environments can be emotionally challenging. Assessing EI in student selection with adequate test can help the institutions of higher education to select the students with required abilities to succeed in the studies. The assessment of EI during student selection also provides information higher education institutions could use to develop and provide support interventions. The results may also encourage practice placements to include EI elements as learning objective. The results of this study and especially the use of IRT and detailed distractor analysis to evaluate the psychometric properties of EMI-T can benefit researchers and educators that develop or evaluate objective assessment tools with multiple choice questions.
IMPLICATIONS FOR THE PROFESSION AND/OR PATIENT CARE: Emotional intelligence is important for students to enable professional interaction.