Friday, 25 May 2018

It’s time to agree on author order

by Terence McCann


Most of us have pondered the order of authors listed on a paper. Aside from our personal confusion about each author’s contribution, questionable authorship practices in leading peer-reviewed nursing and midwifery journals are a significant threat to the integrity of nursing and midwifery scholarship and research. Although broad guidelines regarding publishing practices exist, there appears to be a general absence of or adherence to regulatory guidance concerning authorship and author order. In addition, authorship trends differ across disciplines and countries, leaving the reader unable to determine which authorship convention has been followed. Hence, transparency in author attribution seems to be the exception rather than the rule. The confusion and contentiousness of author order are exacerbated by its potential influence on opportunities for employment, promotion, tenure and research funding. Although it is generally accepted that first and last authors receive the most credit – and the first author is almost always considered the most valuable position on a paper –there is little consistency in how author order is determined. Adoption of a set of principles to guide and justify author order is needed. In a forthcoming discussion paper, McCann and Polacsek (2018) recommend that the ‘first-last-author-emphasis’ be adopted uniformly internationally across nursing and midwifery research. The first author should have made the most significant contribution to the paper; the last author should have made the second most significant contribution to the study, or served as a senior academic or mentor on the study; and other authors should be listed in descending order of their contribution.

McCann, T. V., & Polacsek, M. (2018). Addressing the vexed issue of authorship and author order: A discussion paper. Journal of Advanced Nursing. DOI: 10.1111/jan.13720

Monday, 14 May 2018

Reply to Hoeltzell

Reply to: 

Austyn Snowden, PhD, RMN, FHEA

Thank you for commenting on our article, and for the opportunity to respond. To recap, our study found that there was a very small but positive correlation between ‘trait’ emotional intelligence and successful completion of a nursing degree at first attempt (Snowden et al., 2017). This was the finding from a three-year longitudinal study of a large cohort of Scottish student nurses who started training in 2013, and qualified in 2016. We also found that older females were more likely to complete the course, and that previous caring experience made absolutely no difference to whether students were successful or not, and in fact made it more likely for them to fail in year 1. 

We also found a slightly stronger correlation between ‘social connection’ and completion. Social connection was a factor we found in the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire- short form (TEIQue-SF) (Snowden et al., 2015), the questionnaire we used to measure trait EI in the study (Cooper and Petrides, 2010). ‘Social connection’ seemed to measure the ability to make connections between people, to apply EI. My interpretation is that it is this application of emotional intelligence that Ms Hoeltzell is referring to when arguing for ‘emotional competence’, the ability to express emotional intelligence in a social context. I’m not sure, but if my interpretation is correct, then we agree with her, because that’s what our research found.

However, I found the more interesting element of Ms Hoeltzell’s response to be the identification of emotional intelligence as ‘buzzword’. I couldn’t agree more with that. I think we have probably passed peak emotional intelligence, possibly even peak resilience, hence the need for related but extended concepts such as emotional competence. To me these less rigorous concepts simply signal that it’s time to move on, or at least look elsewhere. Our most recent data showed that in their first year of being qualified nurses, sickness/absence was associated with work experience, such that those with higher job satisfaction were less likely to go off sick. A bit obvious really, but still worth obtaining empirically. The relevant point to this response was that there was no relationship between emotional intelligence and sickness rates, or between resilience and sickness rates. Perhaps it’s time to stop blaming ourselves for lacking perfect personal attributes and instead consider a more practical analysis of the relationship between nurses and their work.

UK nursing has been through an unprecedented period of navel gazing as a consequence of care failings. Whilst it was right to reflect and repair, I think we have probably reached the end of the ‘attribute adventure’, and so I would personally consign emotional competence to history if I could, along with EI, compassion, and resilience. Instead, I would invite the social psychologists to have a go. John Paley’s critique of the compassion agenda (2013) was too early in the grief process for most to take at the time. I would urge another look.


Cooper, A., Petrides, K. V, 2010. A psychometric analysis of the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire-Short Form (TEIQue-SF) using item response theory. J. Pers. Assess. 92, 449–57. doi:10.1080/00223891.2010.497426

Paley, J., 2013. Social psychology and the compassion deficit. Nurse Educ. Today 33, 10–11. doi:10.1016/j.nedt.2013.05.011

Snowden, A., Stenhouse, R., Marshall, S., Duers, L., Brown, N., Carver, F., Young, J., 2017. The relationship between emotional intelligence, previous caring experience, and successful completion of a pre-registration nursing/midwifery degree. J. Adv. Nurs. early view. doi:10.1111/jan.13455

Snowden, A., Watson, R., Stenhouse, R., Hale, C., 2015. Factor and Rasch Analysis of the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire Short Form. J. Adv. Nurs. 71, 2936–2949. doi:10.1111/jan.12746

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Commentary: Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Competency?

Commentary on: Snowden, A., Stenhouse, R., Duers, L., Marshall, S., Carver, F., Brown, N., & young, J. (2018). The relationship between emotional intelligence, previous caring experience and successful completion of a pre-registered nursing/midwifery degree. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 74(2), 433-442. doi: 10.1111/jan.13455

Deborah Hoeltzell, BSN, BFA, RN, CCRN, CPAN, CNRN

I was pleased to have read the article from the February 2018 edition, “The relationship between emotional intelligence, previous caring experience and successful completion of a pre-registration of a nursing/midwifery degree”. Currently, emotional intelligence and emotional competence are the buzz-words for nursing management, leadership, and educators. The authors in-depth study correlated emotional intelligence with successful completion in nursing studies. The subject is valid for the competitive heath care field. Considering emotional intelligence as a trait, and in the “nature versus nurture” debate on traits and competency, would it not be more logical to base importance upon emotional competency, rather than intelligence? According to Na, Wilkinson, Karny, Blackstone, & Stifter (2016) emotional competency compromises skills, such as emotional self-efficacy, inter-relational communication, identifying other’s emotions, awareness of one’s emotions, and capacities for empathetic and sympathetic involvement. These are a few factors to be considered for future nurse candidates.

Including these skills as nursing competencies can provide a refined dimension to an educational curriculum. Whether the potential nursing student has a high or low emotional intelligence would not be a deterrent to completion of a nursing degree. Today’s nurse must be self-aware and equipped with skills to maintain emotional well-being.


Snowden, A., Stenhouse, R., Duers, L., Marshall, S., Carver, F., Brown, N., & young, J. (2018). The relationship between emotional intelligence, previous caring experience and successful completion of a pre-registered nursing/midwifery degree. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 74(2), 433-442. doi: 10.1111/jan.13455

Na, J. Y., Wilkinson, K., Karny, M., Blackstone, S., & Stifter, C. (2016). A synthesis of relevant literature on the development of emotional competence: Implications for design of augmentative and alternative communication systems. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 25, 441-452. doi: 10.1044/2016_AJSLP-14-0124