UK Launching Study of Equine-Guided Leadership in Nurses

UK Launching Study of Equine-Guided Leadership in Nurses

Equine-assisted learning experiences are professionally-facilitated horse-human interactions and exercises (not horseback riding) geared to helping people develop insights that can be applied in the workplace and in their personal lives.

Photo: University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment

The University of Kentucky's (UK) Center for Leadership Development will launch a six-month pilot study in May to assess if Equine Guided Leadership Education (EGLE) is effective at developing the emotional intelligence of nurses at UK's Chandler Hospital. The study is a collaborative endeavor between social science researchers from UK's Center for Leadership Development and nursing researchers from UK Chandler Hospital.

Equine Guided Leadership

Equine-assisted learning experiences are professionally-facilitated horse-human interactions and exercises (not horseback riding) geared to helping people develop insights that can be applied in the workplace and in their personal lives.

"There is an abundance of anecdotal evidence that keeps piling up in dusty files of those who provide equine-assisted learning services, which suggests that experiential learning with horses is effective at building competencies," said co-investigator and project lead Lissa Pohl, MA, from the Center for Leadership Development. "However, for this promising field to become even more credible in the eyes of individuals and organizations who want to utilize this powerful way of learning, there needs to be academic research conducted and published in peer-reviewed journals that shows this to be the case."

According to Pohl, the basic premise of equine-guided education is that horses are natural coaches, with an innate ability to interpret and mirror human behavior. Equine-assisted learning experiences are professionally-facilitated horse-human interactions and exercises (not horseback riding) geared to helping people develop insights that can be applied in the workplace and in their personal lives.

The six-month study will compare before and after emotional intelligence assessments and qualitative surveys of a control group (up to 20 nurses) and an experimental group (up to 20 nurses) that will experience a one-day equine-guided learning workshop designed to increase their emotional intelligence skills at work.

Pohl said the intention of the pilot research study is to provide preliminary data on the efficacy of collaborating with horses to teach emotional intelligence and leadership competencies, with the goal of securing funding for larger research projects in the future.

The project has received fundraising support from industry partner Winning with Horse Power, a Florida-based global umbrella organization of equine experiential providers.

"Supporting this pilot study is a perfect fit for us," said Eileen Tighe, president and CEO of Winning with Horse Power. "Our members around the world are in many different specializations, but using equine-guided experiences to develop emotional intelligence is integral to all of them."

For more information about the project, contact lissa.pohl@uky.edu or 859/257-2748.

Source: edited Equine Guided Leadership Education news release


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