Clinical instructor said I'm too quiet

  1. 1 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?
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  3. Visit  jes07} profile page

    About jes07

    Joined Feb '13; Posts: 36; Likes: 1.

    23 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  limaRN} profile page
    3
    It's not necessarily a great thing when you're a student. I think she wants to hear you interacting with nurses and pts and asking lots of questions!!
    CLoGreenEyes, amoLucia, and GrnTea like this.
  5. Visit  brithoover} profile page
    4
    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?
    It is NOT a bad thing. I am very quiet and am a successful nurse. Nursing needs all types of personalities, not just the loud ones trying to assert themselves into everything. The only thing I regret is not being assertive enough when in the clinical setting during school. Usually the "louder" students got to do the IV starts, foley insertions ect. So when I graduated I didn't have a whole lot of skills under my belt.
  6. Visit  LillyBud} profile page
    2
    Well first of all, being quiet is completely OK! I am quiet, but once I get to know people or I have been there long enough I start to open up a little. It is hard to be assertive when you are a nursing student. From what it sounds like, your instructor was critiquing you without giving you sound advice on exactly WHAT you should do to become more assertive. I don't think an instructor should ever tell you "you will have a difficult time in your nursing career..." unless it is over something that would harm the community or yourself. She is addressing what she believes to be a character flaw, and who is she to say it is better to be more assertive. I would much rather have a quiet gentle nurse than this loud mouth brunhilda come at me with an injection. Let it roll off your shoulder and next time tell her you appreciate her input, but you are most comfortable reserving your comments/questions for when you are really stumped. Don't feel bad. When you are more comfortable in your "nursing shoes" you wont worry about fitting in or being assertive. You will be just how you were meant to be Best of luck!
    sbenton and Romans 8:28 like this.
  7. Visit  llg} profile page
    6
    You can't totally change your personality ... but you can make more of an effort to speak up.

    1. Prepare a few possible questions to ask in advance
    2. Volunteer to help others when you get caught up with your assigned tasks
    3. Smile and appeared engaged in conversations around you (demonstrate "active listening" such as nodding and voicing agreement)
    4. Relate a story about your clinical experience in post-conference

    Be sure your instructor sees you doing these things and that should be sufficient to reassure her that you can function/communicate in the work environment. They are necessary skills that even "a quiet person" can master with just a little effort.

    Good luck to you.
    Orange Tree, jax67, DawnJ, and 3 others like this.
  8. Visit  GrnTea} profile page
    4
    There's work and there's nursing school. There are lots of places where an introvert can flourish in nursing, and you may well end up in one and be happy as a clam at high tide, but in nursing school you have to do what they tell you to get out. Make the effort, and then see what happens after you graduate.
    BlueEyedGuy, DawnJ, MMaeLPN, and 1 other like this.
  9. Visit  tcooks7} profile page
    0
    I think maybe she's just making for sure you would know what to do in an emergency situation and that you not only know how to think critically but that you're acting critically, also. Sometimes its not enough to know the material, you have to show that you know it. But definitely don't let the instructor try to make you second guess your career choice; if this is what you want to do, do it!! Good luck!!!!
  10. Visit  heartsgal} profile page
    0
    Quote from GrnTea
    There's work and there's nursing school. There are lots of places where an introvert can flourish in nursing, and you may well end up in one and be happy as a clam at high tide, but in nursing school you have to do what they tell you to get out. Make the effort, and then see what happens after you graduate.
    GrnTea is right. You have to do whatever it takes to get through nursing school and show the instructors you can handle clinical situations and be assertive when need be. After school you can find a job that suits your personality. I've worked with several nurses that are quiet and very good at what they do, so if you have a passion for nursing you'll find your niche.
  11. Visit  elsey} profile page
    0
    'Timid and needing to show more assertiveness'
    Clinical rotations are your chance to get your feet wet. You are allowed to make mistakes, not know all the answers, and voice worries or fears in a supportive environment. Therefore, its OK to be timid, but if you only have 2 weeks left then just go for it! jump in and say "let me do that!"
    Also, consider this: If she has pointed this out, most probably, it is not to make you feel inadequate as a human, it is to push you to get more out of your clinicals than what she sees. The goal of all teachers is student success.
    If you feel unsure then may i suggest clarify with her what specific actions you could take to overcome this. (that shows communication skills)
    Worst case senaio: you jump in, attempt a task and dont excell, the CI says you need more time. thats not just for your education and success, it is for patient safety (the later is always #1 priority)

    Quiet and timid are two different traits. Although most timid people are quiet, not all quiet people are necessarily timid. However, timid persons may be what we, as seasoned nurses, may call thin skinned, and that will make any work environment difficult.

    School is stressful. Chances are you read her wrong, took too much to heart. I'm sure you will do fine, dont be afraid, timid or overwhelmed; take a deep breath, have faith in yourself and leap into the unknown
  12. Visit  Stephalump} profile page
    0
    I don't know your professor, so I don't know her intentions, but I don't think saying you're too timid and unassertive is necessarily an attack on an introverted personality. I'm far from quiet, and assertiveness is still something I have to work on.
    I'm a extrovert, but I'm not really the "pushy" type, and apparently pushy is what I need to be. If I ask you how your DM maintenance is going and you tell me " great" even though your blood sugar was 400 when you came in, my first instinct is just to let it go. And I'm sure I'm not the only one. But in NS they want more. Go back in the room and offer them a dietary consult. Find some literature. Ask them more questions, and so on and so forth. It's an effort for me.

    So anyway, I agree that NS is different than the real world, and just give them what they want. Fake it until you make it. The worst thing that'll happen is you'll gain some awesome communication skills
  13. Visit  obloom14} profile page
    1
    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.
  14. Visit  QuarterLife88} profile page
    1
    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.
  15. Visit  Racer15} profile page
    0
    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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