Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Belle Booker-Zorigian, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Patricia Talbert, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Rolbena Walker, Ph.D.


Health care is undergoing significant transition in practice models, payment structures, and assessment strategies requiring health care leaders to adapt to support transition and lead change (Larkin, 2015; Miles, 2017). There is speculation that current health leaders lack the necessary awareness to connect the patient’s needs with critical business decisions (Quy, 2017). If this ability is lacking in current employees, academic institutions should evaluate college students to determine if there is a gap in knowledge that can be identified. Using emotional intelligence (EI) as the conceptual framework, this study aims to evaluate EI in college health care management (HCM) business students to answer the research questions: What are the emotional intelligence characteristics of college health care management business students?; How do college health care management business students use emotional intelligence when evaluating patient scenarios?; and How does a practicum experience influence emotional intelligence in college health care management business students? Through a qualitative comparative case study, 14 HCM students participated after purposeful sampling selected qualified individuals who aligned with the case under investigation at a private, midwest, liberal arts college. Semistructured interviews and focus group questions gathered data that was then evaluated through in vivo, value, and pattern coding. It was determined that a practicum experience enhanced emotional intelligence characteristics in the study population. Through these finding it is recommended that academic HCM business programs incorporate practical learning to stimulate the connection of patient care into enhanced business decisions.

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