First of all I apologize for the long post!!
So I passed my first semester with good grades. (mostly A's with B being the lowest) The clinical teacher in our first semester said my skills are better than most people's, I just lack self-confidence, that I am going to be a good nurse.
It is now second semester and we are doing our clinical at retirement residence. I participate in group discussions, and for our presentation to the residents, I spent the greatest amount of time and took the biggest part of it (I was actually interested in the topic and wanted to give residents the most useful and interesting information). My marks in other subjects are also very good.
Yesturday I learned that our coordinator of the program wants to talk to me. I had no idea what it would be about, and so i was slightly nervous. It turned out I was nervous for a reason. The coordinator said that the clinical instructructor is very concerned with the way I act in clinical, and that at the moment I am failing it.
Her reasons are that I do not "mingle" with residents, for instance I do not talk to them in the mourning and afternoon. That she constantly has to encourage me to talk to residents (I remember she mentioned it once, in a matter of fact way, and I asked her what I should talk to them about), ..That I do not know how to talk to people at all (instructor told my coordinator that "I actually once asked her if I should invite the patient to get his blood pressure taken when we were doing the blood pressure clinic!").
I do realise that the two things that I said were kind of silly, but I did not realise that that would put me on a contract, and would mean that nursing is not for me (the coordinator said that), since the clinical instructor never showed any signs of being upset and never told me anything about .. well.. anything.. Whenever she talked to me she was always smiling, not a hint that there was anything wrong. And now the coordinator telling me that I should probably switch from nursing, that she is questioning if nursing is for me, that I am on the point of failing, and if I don't change a 100% i will fail. I also mentioned something about psychiatric nursing, and she said I won't be able to do that since I don't know how to talk to people.
It is true that I am a bit shy, and unless a conversation has purpose and direction to it it is hard for me to know what to say.. (to make a small talk about nothing in particular in other words).. But is being outgoing really the most important thing in nursing?
I am polite, and sensitive to other people, as well I have great interest and knowledge in the areas of nursing i am interested in which I am willing to apply to help patients.. And as i said I do not have a problem obtaining specific information, if the conversation has some sort of purpose.. The instructor said however that no patient will let me do a procedure or give me any information unless I first build a "trusting relationship" with him/her.
So my question is--Is small talk essnetial for nursing??
( i mean, I always introduce myself, I am always polite and I always ask patients how they are and all that, I just find it kind of awkward and even sometimes inappropriate (just for myself) to ask them questions about their life, their family, their health, if there is no specific reason for asking such questions.. Efficiency, rationality, reasonability, logic and relevancy are all the core aspects of my personality which will be hard to change.
So to sum this up--I am bad at small talk, and at converations without purpose and/or specific direction, should I be a nurse, or is my coordinator right?
Feb 3, '12
by nursel56 Guide
It's really odd to me that a coordinator would tell someone they should drop out of the nursing program based on behaviors just one instructor observed and believed was a problem.
I'm a quiet type at work, too so I had to learn how to engage people in conversation without seeming stilted and unnatural. It's a skill you can develop. I did - and it gets easier with practice, like any other skill. Having someone basically say "now go ever there and talk to that resident now! -- and be friendly while you're at it!" is most emphatically not the correct approach. I dare say that instructor could brush up on her communication skills, too
You hit on part of the answer yourself when you said your presentation was the longest because you were interested in the topic and it just flowed from there. The same principle is true for "small talk". While you are otherwise interacting while providing care is a more natural time to start a conversation.
It really helps to become observant and you will think of things to talk about - not while you're in a panic. If you like people and are genuinely interested most people will pick up on it and feel comfortable enough to share.
Do you have any supportive friends who could help you do role-play? How about thinking of a few "ice-breaker" questions ahead of time if your mind suddeny goes blank. I armed myself with lots of those when I was a new mother support group leader and absolutely hate talking in front of a group. Thinking it through ahead of time helped me out a lot.
Anyway, those are just some ideas I threw out there- I don't think this means you can't be a nurse.
Last edit by nursel56 on Feb 3, '12