Today's organisations are under increasing pressure to expand the quality of work and ability to compete in the workplace that is continuously changing. These changes involve increased dependency on social skills and new technologies, continuous competency development, risk-taking, networking, and innovation. They also include changes in organisational structure and relationships, such as reduced hierarchies, blurred boundaries, moves to teams as basic building blocks, and increased complexity of work. As the current pandemic has shown, they also embrace profound and fast changes to the way we work in the face of crises and organisations are looking at new strategies to promote such qualities as wellbeing, psychological empowerment and work engagement which are antecedents of job satisfaction and quality of patient care [1,2,3].
There is strong evidence that EI is an important factor in improving work performance . Research indicates that higher EI leads to enhanced psychological wellbeing and higher rates of positive emotional states [5,6,7], and that emotional intelligence training can develop meaningfulness at work and happiness [8, 9]. In a meta-analysis, O'Boyle et al.  found overall validity for three streams of EI research (ability measures, self- and peer-report measures, and mixed models) predicting job performance equally well. EI also influences the success with which employees interact with colleagues, the strategies they use to manage conflict and stress, and positively contributes to several aspects of workplace performance .
Researching the relationship between EI and job satisfaction among nurses, Gong et al.  examined the mediating effect of psychological empowerment and work engagement in this association. Using structural equation modelling, they found that high trait EI may improve occupational wellbeing through the chain-mediating effects of these two constructs. A 2017 meta-analysis of EI and work attitudes has found that all three types of EI are significantly related to job satisfaction . The results indicate that workers with higher EI have higher job satisfaction, higher organizational commitment, and are less likely to change jobs. Another recent study has found statistically significant positive relationships between EI, empowering leadership, psychological empowerment and work engagement . This finding suggests that EI training of health workers to improve psychological empowerment and work engagement could help their organisations to improve their relationships with patients, provide better care, and reduce staff turnover. Emotional intelligence may be most important in the service sector and in other jobs where employees interact with customers. Several studies found a positive association between the EI of nurses and service quality and patients' compliance with care [15,16,17].
There is evidence that communication effectiveness and job satisfaction of the employees are related to their managers' EI . Research shows that leaders who build effective interpersonal relationships with those in lower rank are using EI to lead individuals to work more effectively and with increased overall job satisfaction [19, 20]. Udod et al.  found that leaders who use EI to build interpersonal relationships with their subordinates achieve higher overall job satisfaction and better work effectiveness among those employees. These positive changes are strongly influenced by the leaders who value and respect their employee’s opinions, abilities, personal emotions, and character. Increased empowerment was directly related to the support and level of autonomy given by the leader and a work environment allowing career growth and development .
There has been much interest in empowerment in the workplace for a variety of reasons. Studies found that empowering subordinates contributes to managerial and organisational effectiveness. There is a significant relationship between psychological empowerment and work engagement. Alotaibi et al.  investigated the role of EI and empowering leadership (EL) in improving psychological empowerment and work engagement. They found significant positive relationships between EI, EL, psychological empowerment and work engagement, suggesting that EI is a good predictor of EL and psychological empowerment, while EL supports work engagement.
Staff empowerment is linked to work behaviours, attitudes, and performance. It tends to have a direct effect on performance and indirect effects through its influence on job satisfaction and innovativeness . In healthcare, employee empowerment denotes the level to which caregivers have the authority to make decisions, such as evaluating the patient condition and determining the most suitable treatment. A review of studies exploring the effect of structural empowerment of nurses on quality outcomes in hospitals found that there are positive associations between the structural empowerment of nurses and the quality of outcomes, such as patient safety, work effectiveness, efficiency, and patient‐centeredness of patient care in hospitals .
Quality of healthcare can be defined in many ways. The Institute of Medicine defines quality as the "degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge” . A more recent study defined quality of healthcare, using various healthcare stakeholder perceptions and expectations, as “consistently delighting the patient by providing efficacious, effective and efficient healthcare services according to the latest clinical guidelines and standards, which meet the patient's needs and satisfies providers” .
Many nursing studies have shown an association between EI and nurses' quality of care. A 2017 study examining the relationship between patient satisfaction and EI skills of nurses found a strong correlation between the satisfaction scores and emphatic concern, utilization of emotions, and emotional awareness subheadings of the patients . A 2018 study, exploring the role of EI in engagement in nurses, found that nurses with higher levels of EI also scored higher in engagement. The greatest predictor of engagement was the interpersonal factor . A study investigating emotional labour among Australian community nurses found that emotional labour and EI predicts wellbeing as well as job-stress . With the current shortage in the nursing workforce, effective EI training may provide the key to keeping nurses in their jobs while helping them reduce job-stress and burnout levels. Emotional intelligence also seems to correlate highly with wellbeing in nurses, has a positive correlation with work performance and the ability to positively affect patient safety [29,30,31]. Today, EI is one of the most sought-after skills in the workplace. When it comes to healthcare workers and nurses, increased EI may save lives, not to mention relieve stress.
The model fit was in this study was assessed using structural equation modelling (SEM). SEM has been used successfully in research involving EI and nurses. For example, a 2016 study used SEM to analyse the goodness of fit of the hypothetical model of nurses' turnover intention. The results suggest that increasing EI in nurses might significantly decrease nurses' turnover intention by reducing the effect of emotional labour on burnout . Another study used SEM to examine the mediatory role of positive and negative affect at work. The researchers found that these mediate the relationship between EI and job satisfaction with positive affect exerting a stronger influence .
The present research project investigated the importance of EI as an antecedent to wellbeing, psychological empowerment and quality of care. The research is one of the few studies in Australia in a much under-researched area of aged care setting. It contributes to international literature by examining the EI link with the three constructs. Thus, it was hypothesised that:
Higher emotional intelligence is a predictor of better wellbeing,
Higher emotional intelligence is a predictor of psychological empowerment,
Higher emotional intelligence leads to better quality of patient care among aged care staff.