Intensive care units are one of the most anxious environments for its employees, especially for doctors, nurses and nursing students. The current study was designed to test the efficacy of an emotional intelligence intervention on reducing stress and improving communication skills of nursing students. Nursing student volunteers from an introductory psychology class at a moderate western Chinese university participated for class credit (n=85). We randomly assigned the nursing students to an emotional intelligence group and a control group. The sample completed measures of perceived stress and communication skills at baseline and end of study. As expected, perceived stress decreased in the emotional intelligence group, but not in the control group, due to the intervention. Also, communication skills increased in emotional intelligence group but remained unchanged in the control group. Findings suggest that an emotional intelligence intervention can protect nursing students from an increase in perceived stress and a decrease in communication skills in the intensive care units.