Clinical instructor said I'm too quiet - page 2

by jes07 5,300 Views | 23 Comments

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... Read More


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    Instructors like this is what we need more of especially in nursing school. Being assertive during clinicals is whats going to get you to experience more. By jumping in and asking questions and even asking to do a procedure is the right thing. You shouldn't observe only. I've had classmates that were "quiet" or "shy" and really didnt get to experience hands on skills. I can also see why she said you won't get far in your career, yes she could've put it a different way...but trust me...instructors like this will get you to thank them later on. I had one instructor I HATED because she would always pick on me and test my limits...at the end of my term she said I did that to see how much you can handle. She said I'm fearless. Ever since then...I thanked her for doing what she did. Take this as a gift...she said that to you for a reason. You obviously can't change in a week...but show more interest, jump in and ask to handle procedures, ask a lot of questions, be more confident and show her that you are going to be a good nurse.
    CLoGreenEyes likes this.
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    I don't think being quiet is a bad thing. I'm quiet myself. A true introvert. If I had it my way I'd eat lunch alone in the cafeteria so I could read a book, not because I'm being antisocial. I don't talk just to be talking and prefer to listen and watch people. I don't think extroverts get that at all, so they see it as being non-assertive. I also don't think you should change who you are, but for the sake of your grade with this particular instructor: fake it til you make it, and then go back to being you. I guess I've been lucky as I've never had an instructor tell me I was too quiet...yet. I just do my job to the best of my abilities and that seems to deter them.
    Last edit by QuarterLife88 on Feb 17, '13
    sbenton likes this.
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    I was told this in nursing school as well, after a rotation in an ED, where the staff were concerned because I mostly hung back and observed all day. Amusingly enough, I am now an ED nurse. In my situation, my instructor discussed it with me and told me I needed to be more assertive in involving myself during my clinical days. Ask to do things even if you aren't sure (just let someone know you need help), put yourself out there, offer to do things without being asked, get involved without having to be pushed. That advise has worked for me as a nurse as well. My preceptors really became impressed when I would jump in and just do things, keep one step ahead and anticipate what needed to be done. Basically, be your own advocate as far as your clinical education goes.
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    Don't let anything your clinical instructor says to you make you "feel bad". Just take it for what it is and try to improve on it! Employers will love you if you can take what they say and make a genuine effort to fix it, even if it is difficult to accept that you aren't perfect.
    GrnTea likes this.
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    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?
    Hi. I was extremely quiet and always gave it as my weakness when asked. Yes it is a good thing at times. In time , with experience, you will learn how to advocate for patients and others in the appropriate way. A nurse needs to question practice if required and also delegate to ateam of staff.. Now I will speak at conferences for 250 people and also lecture so things will change---
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    Quote from GrnTea
    There's work and there's nursing school. There are lots of places where an introvert can flourish in nursing
    GrnTea,
    Can you tell us some of these "Introvert friendly" nursing positions? And are they something nursing students get to experience? I am having struggles similar to the OP. I'm a second-semester nursing student and so far all we've done is med-surg, which has definitely been not.
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    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.

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com
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    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.
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    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!
    CLoGreenEyes likes this.
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    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.


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