You will find your own way of dealing with patients with experience. As far as what you are taught in school, I'm sure it varies, but we learned therapeutic communication in my program. We also had a semester of clinicals in a psych setting to practice motivational interviewing.
My simple points:
1. Be patient centered. All conversations should be in the benefit of the patient. You can tell stories or joke and sometimes that is absolutely vital to connecting, but it should be for their benefit.
2. Emote your care and compassion, especially with a smile. I smile a lot at my patients naturally because I'm a smiler, but if you aren't, make an effort to smile.
3. Watch your body language. Eye contact, nodding, and facial expressions play a large part in communication.
4. Listen twice as much as you talk. The only time you should be speaking more than listening is when you are providing patient education. Of course, sometimes you get a quiet patient
5. Use notes like a brain sheet to jot down requests, questions, etc from the patient that you are not able to get at that moment, then follow up when you complete them.
6. Be politically correct in the majority of cases. But enjoy the patients that don't expect you to be "on" for 12 hours straight.
7. Utilize your ancillary staff such as chaplains and social workers.
There is nothing wrong with being shy. Plenty of patients prefer a calm, relaxed bedside manner and will appreciate a quieter nurse. Again, you'll learn as you go. Good luck.