The purpose of this study was to determine what correlation exists between nursing studentsí emotional intelligence and their success in a nursing program. In addition, the predictive ability of emotional intelligence was compared with that of traditional academic variables in the realm of nursing student success. The trait self-efficacy theory was applied to this correlational descriptive study. The Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue) was used to measure trait emotional intelligence in a sample of 115 baccalaureate nursing students attending a public university in the mid-south US. No significant relationship was found between emotional intelligence and end-of-semester nursing grade point averages (GPAs). Emotional intelligence was not found to be a significant predictor of nursing student success based on GPA. Among the academic and non-academic variables used in regression analysis, pre-nursing GPAs were found to be significant predictors of end-of-semester nursing GPAs. A limitation of this study was the use of the TEIQue instead of an ability-based theory and instrument. Perioperative nursing is a dynamic profession that requires more than academic ability. Students should be screened for their emotional intelligence level prior to admission in a nursing program in order to select those students most likely to succeed in school and in the profession.