Clinical instructor said I'm too quiet - page 2

The other day, my clinical instructor told me I am too quiet and that I should be more assertive. I know she probably told me this for my own good and I should be more assertive, but it made me feel... Read More

  1. by   edmia
    Quote from jes07
    The other day, my clinical instructor told me I am too quiet and that I should be more assertive. I know she probably told me this for my own good and I should be more assertive, but it made me feel bad. From the way she was telling me it sounded like I am too timid and that I just stand there and watch my preceptor do all skills and I don't do nothing. She also said I needed to have better communication skills with patients and other nurses and to her I seem to be too quiet. I might be quiet but it does not mean I do not communicate with people and if there is something wrong I will address it and not just be quiet about it. She just thinks my quietness will prevent me from being a good nurse and said I will have a hard time in the work environment. I do not know what to do because now she expects to see me more assertive in clinical for the next 2 weeks. I know I should be more assertive but I can not changed within a week and be more outgoing. Not sure what to do. Is being quiet such a bad thing when trying to be a nurse?
    I don't think it's bad to be quiet, but from her view, it may be hard to know if you're a quiet student or a student who doesn't know the material and hides in order to not do the work. I had a classmate like that and I shudder to think of her as an actually nurse! Actually, I heard she had to take the Nclex some ridiculous amount of times like 3 or 4 before passing.

    You need to ask questions, speak up, ask your preceptor to let you do things, and just show that you are thinking inside your quietness.

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  2. by   HM-8404
    Telling a nursing student they need to speak up or be more assertive is a reasonable thing for a clinical instructor to say. In class your instructors know if you "get" the book portion by your test scores. In clinicals, where you actually put that into practice, it is determined by your clinical instructor by the skills you perform or how you handle situations on the fly. If someone is a wallflower and does not speak up or stands back and allows everyone else to practice skills then the instructor has no idea if you are capable of doing anything.

    I doubt anyone will say you can learn to be a nurse from a book. You can read a calculus book from cover to cover but if you never do a problem you won't be able to do them.

    On another note, I would just about bet the nurses on here that complain the most about their mean co-workers, mean Dr's, mean family members, are basically the quiet, standoffish type, with thin skins that would say someone telling them to speak up and be more aggressive makes them feel bad. We have been told from day one that one of our main jobs is to advocate for our patients. It's very hard to advocate for anything if someone is too timid to speak up.
  3. by   CC Wisconsin
    I was totally quiet when I started clinicals...I was just so nervous! Now when I head into clinicals, I'm much more outgoing. I think it has to do with your confidence and how comfortable you feel in the situation.

    I also found that I was way more quiet with my preceptor around than I was when I was with the client alone. There is something about "feeling like a student" that makes me feel inadequate. When I am alone, though, I feel much more like a nurse and I act more like a nurse.

    I would just take it as constructive criticism and talk to your instructor more about how you are feeling As others have said, you don't have to have a loud and assertive personality to be a great nurse! You'll do great!
  4. by   NightNerd
    OP, I can identify with being a quiet type, but there is definitely a difference between the confident and capable quiet person and the timid quiet person. I think your instructor is probably just trying to encourage you to become the former, although she wasn't very careful with her choice of words.

    Let me emphasize: it is totally OK to be a quiet, calm, introverted person. It is totally OK to be a quiet, calm, introverted nurse - in fact, that sort of personality can have a positive effect on certain patients. You just need to be able to say what you need to say and do what you need to do, without appearing ashamed or afraid.

    As far as being in school right now goes, being assertive will only add to YOUR experience. You're responsible for what you learn, so trying new things, asking ridiculous questions, and doing more than the bare minimum as far as interacting with instructors/patients/other students is for your own benefit. So take advantage of it! Being a student is great time to be an idiot, provided you're learning from it, trying your best, and not doing anything that will harm your patients or get you kicked out.

    Like I said, I can identify with being a quiet person, and I used to be incredibly shy. I still can be at times. But once I started biting the bullet and just asking questions, participating, and being more bold, I started to feel more confident. Sometimes you just have to start by doing the thing that freaks you out and the courage will follow.
  5. by   Wrench Party
    I'm also introverted, and I was terrified in a med surg clinical when the instructor said to me, "Hmm, you're a quiet one".
    It wasn't an accusation, but rather she gave me the quiet patients that preferred lots of 1:1 interaction and would be overwhelmed
    with my more boisterous classmates. I had a ball and learned a lot, and got over having to talk to patients.

    Now I'm happy as a clam in my practicum, because I'm not in a big group and have a lot of interaction with my preceptor and
    my patients.

    My advice is to take advantage of your instructor's wisdom, and come out of your shell a little bit. It will only increase your confidence.
  6. by   turnforthenurse
    It is NOT a bad thing. I was very quiet throughout nursing school and clinical. I always asked for clarification when needed, asked questions and tried to get involved as much as I could during clinical. I knew my stuff. But I was always told by my instructors during my evaluations that I was quiet and I needed more confidence. I've been a nurse for almost two years and I have been successful. In fact, I think I have shed that "quiet" quality. I have really grown out of my shell since being a nurse student and being a new grad to now. Don't let that discourage you.
  7. by   Gr8ful1
    I think it is ok to be quiet. Just don't let being quiet keep you from stepping up and volunteering for learning opportunities. If you stand quietly behind all of the other students your instructors will likely conclude you are trying not to be noticed because you lack the confidence. It might not be an accurate assessment, but how is your instructor to know if you don't step out of your comfort zone? As nurses, we have to do that sometimes. And by all means, ask questions. Be brave and answer a peers question if you know the answer. I think your instructor wants to know that you can advocate for your patients and for yourself. Sometimes, being an advocate means being loud until someone listens - loud, but not obnoxious.