A Brief Exploration of the Socialisation of Gender and Emotional Intelligence to Gain an Understanding of Why Nursing Remains a Predominantly Sex Segregated Profession
This paper attempts to understand how emotions and emotional intelligence (EI) is gendered throughout the socialisation and development of children into adults and how this affects the sex segregation of occupations such as nursing. This is relevant as nursing is continually used as the scapegoat for healthcare system failures and thus an understanding and appreciation of emotional intelligence and how it is cultivated may elevate the role of nursing, reduce the sex segregation that remains and aid structural reform of the National Health Service (NHS). That is, many of the failures we have seen in recent years have been due in part to nurses being overstretched in their workload and under – supported resulting in a reduced ability to manage emotions or remain emotionally intelligent, due partially to a lack of time with each patient. By increasing the spotlight on emotional intelligence, and the time this requires, in the literature it is hoped that the value of nursing will be elevated and this will be reflected in the structural reforms, which continue within the NHS. This paper thus begins with an exploration of Hochschild’s work as the basis for examining emotional labour, followed by a brief examination of the beliefs held about emotions and the socialisation of emotions throughout childhood and beyond. A dissection of how the healthcare system, and occupations within it are gendered will be followed by a brief exploration of the implications of this. Emotional labour, intelligence and nursing, in general and today, are discussed before drawing the different themes of socialisation, occupational sex typing and nursing together in an emotional intelligence framework to gain an understanding of the complexity of how the three interact today within the National Health Service (NHS).