Can you be a nurse if you're not outgoing?

  1. I'm looking into a nursing career, and it really seems to be something I want to do, but I'm afraid I may not have the personality for it. I'm usually very comfortable talking to people, but there are some people that intimidate me and it really affects how I speak to them.

    Do you think perhaps during nursing school you can become a "people person" or do you have to be born one? What are your thoughts?
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   gingerzoe
    yes, I think as you learn and become more confident you are able to talk to people. I don't feel you have to be the most outgoing person in order to be a nurse. there is alot to be said about quiet types. good luck
  4. by   Tweety
    If you have compassion and empathy and a desire to help a person who isn't well, then yes, I think you can develop people skills and confidence as time goes on.
  5. by   dansamy
    I'm a bit of an introvert, but I love talking to patients, etc. Since I have a strong sense of empathy, I can always find a way to relate to them. That helps a lot.
  6. by   lady_jezebel
    Quote from Natalieboo
    I'm looking into a nursing career, and it really seems to be something I want to do, but I'm afraid I may not have the personality for it. I'm usually very comfortable talking to people, but there are some people that intimidate me and it really affects how I speak to them.

    Do you think perhaps during nursing school you can become a "people person" or do you have to be born one? What are your thoughts?
    I was voted "most shy" in high school, and have struggled with public speaking throughout my life. I was always OK with one-on-one conversations, but intimidated with speaking to groups, interviews, and superiors. I've even been diagnosed with "social phobia" (in college).

    The actual job of nursing has made me MUCH more assertive and easy going with people. I've found that as I learn more about my job, I WANT to teach clients/families about their health (ie. entails speaking to GROUPS when there are several family members in the room). This field has actually increased my self-confidence tremendously. It happened more so on the job than in school.

    My introverted fears almost kept me from applying to nursing school. Now I know that it's the best decision I ever made. I have grown so much as a person. Don't worry, there is plenty of room and need in this field for quiet yet compassionate introverted, reflective types! Many times patients just need a presence, someone to be there, listen, show compassion, and do things for them. Being "out-going" is not a necessary quality for a nurse.
  7. by   ?burntout
    I was very shy in high school too... But when I got in nursing school and had to start talking to people, it really helped me come out of my shell. I still have situations where I feel a little timid, but most of the time now, I can't shut up!!! :chuckle
  8. by   nursebedlam
    Been nursing for 17yrs now and l've met many nurses whom l'd consider do not have a outgoing personality. However l'm sure if you have lots of compassion and empathy towards people then you will make a great nurse. Hopefully the university/colledge you attend will teach you the assertiveness skills so you won't be intimidated by some people. Good luck, go 4 it
  9. by   gerinurse10
    I am so glad I went into nursing. This profession has changed my personality drastically. It all started when I accepted a position in the ER as a tech. You learn really quick how to speak up for yourself. I was horribly shy most of my life. In nursing school I learned or was almost forced into becoming more assertive. I think as your self esteem grows so does your ability to speak and be heard/respected. You will do fine. The hardest part for me was dealing with people of authority. Calling doctors was torture for me, now I know what I am doing so I am comfortable talking with them. It all comes in time. I am still scared to death about talking in front of groups but I make myself. Guess what I am going back to school to become? A nursing instructor, I picked a school who has described their classes as "mainly oral presentations". I do this on purpose, hit the fear head on and you find it really isn't as scary as you think. Good Luck.
  10. by   askater11
    I am a shy person. I still am.

    But I've learned at work how to be open. Not be scared to ask questions. And I always voice concerns questions to Dr.'s. I'm very assertive for the patients care. But come lunch break I talk but usually let the more voicetrous people speak. I'm more of a listener than a speaker.

    You'll learn to be assertive and an excellent nurse.
  11. by   purplemania
    I have been doing review of literature regarding this subject. Hardiness seems to be the prime personality quality for nurses. You can be introverted, but be tough on the inside and willing to stick things out to succeed---you get the idea. Do a search on hardiness. Stick-to-it-ness is what you need, not a bubbly personality.
  12. by   Torachan
    Thanks people for the great posts. I agree wholeheartedly with all of them

    In my humble opinion it is possible to change how you are to what you want to become. It takes a conscious decision though (well actually it doesn't but it certainly helps). My friend was very shy. Always standing in the corner at parties waiting to be spoken to. One day he said to me that he was going to act like a confident person. The next oportunity he introduced himself with the confidence he wasn't feeling. He kept pretending and eventually he was the personification of confidence.

    There are plenty of books that can help (how to win friends and influence people is a seminal work). I suggest borrowing them from the library to find the ones that work for you. Interestingly you will find that they all pretty much say the same thing which should point out that they all agree on how to achieve the change you want.

    You learnt to be introverted and you can learn how to become extroverted (if that is what you want).

    Hope that helps
  13. by   jnette
    Quote from Torachan
    Thanks people for the great posts. I agree wholeheartedly with all of them

    In my humble opinion it is possible to change how you are to what you want to become. It takes a conscious decision though (well actually it doesn't but it certainly helps). My friend was very shy. Always standing in the corner at parties waiting to be spoken to. One day he said to me that he was going to act like a confident person. The next oportunity he introduced himself with the confidence he wasn't feeling. He kept pretending and eventually he was the personification of confidence.

    There are plenty of books that can help (how to win friends and influence people is a seminal work). I suggest borrowing them from the library to find the ones that work for you. Interestingly you will find that they all pretty much say the same thing which should point out that they all agree on how to achieve the change you want.

    You learnt to be introverted and you can learn how to become extroverted (if that is what you want).

    Hope that helps
    WOW. I wholeheartedly agree, because I am one of those people who did this very thing some thirty years ago. I firmly believe you become what you THINK. It CAN be done, because I am a living example of it. It's like programming your mind with a blueprint of who you want to be... and you begin acting that way because you've reprogrammed. We truly ARE in control of who we are... I have always wished more ppl could come to this amazing knowlege.

    Kudos to you, because you've found this precious nugget of truth !!!
  14. by   Nurse GOODNIGHT
    Had to respond, am in nursing school and my instructor said to like people is a prerequisite. Being shy is different then not liking people. I think there is a place for everyone with compassion. One on one with a patient who needs you is different. Perhaps as my DON said, consider surgery if you just don't have the people skills yet (her suggestion).

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