The emotional and rational realms overlap, interact with, and affect each other. Despite notions of the desirability of separating emotions and reason, both realms must be acknowledged in order to provide quality health care, especially as medicine becomes more technical. Understanding how the two realms overlap is becoming ever more important as medicine presents us with issues such as life support decisions and genetics counseling. Such decisions as opting for elective oophorectomy or mastectomy to avert cancer (Dimond, Calzone, Davis, and Jenkins, 1998) or remaining childless because of genetic test results highlight the impossibility of ignoring the emotional component in rational health care decision making. Nurses especially, as patients' lifelines, need to understand the emotional dimensions in such clinical situations. Recognizing emotions and facilitating the transition from one to another are skills of emotional intelligence that serve nurses in such settings.
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