Why the heck do I have to be assertive???

  1. 4 I'm an introverted agoraphobic! And I like being that way! Since I got accepted into nursing school, all I've heard is...."You HAVE to be assertive in nursing school and clinicals if you want to survive!" Why?? Are there no shy, good, caring nurses out there in the world?? This isn't my first rodeo! I was in a nursing program 2 years ago. And the feedback I got was....you are too shy....too soft-spoken! My reply to that was....why?? Shy people can become nurses too...right?....I never got a reply to that by the way! Quite frankly, I'm annoyed (in a shy, passive sort of way!) that I feel like I have to change who I've been for most of my life, just to survive nursing school! And I don't want too! Can all the quiet, shy, passive introverted nurses please stand up(but only if you want too!) and let me know you are out there, and how you survived. Thanks!
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  3. Visit  JaRoJoCT profile page

    About JaRoJoCT

    Joined Apr '11; Posts: 128; Likes: 70.

    44 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  sevenup0307 profile page
    2
    I am a shy/quiet nursing student. i got through pre-professional portion with no pplms, however i haven't started the actual rotations, so no experience yet on my end. You have to be assertive in some cases/situations. For instance, if you need help or don't know something you have to go ask for it, help or advice won't come to you. Also patients and your instructors will sense shyness and it may make them think that your not comfortable in what you are doing. So yes, there's nothing wrong with being caring but you do have to be assertive, not passive in what you are doing. It will show interest in what you are learning and will give a good impression for your instructors. Sadly in this day an age, we have to conform to societal rules. Take for example lawyers. They have a certain personality or persona they need to display. Same with salesmen. You can sense it when you see them, they put on a face. That's how society operates.
    1feistymama and JaRoJoCT like this.
  5. Visit  DisneyNurseGal profile page
    12
    My first semester I was the shy, introverted, go-with-the flow student standing at the back. I watched my classmates get picked to assist on all kinds of procedures or get asked to observe cool things. I noticed when I came out of my shell second semester, my own nurses I was following would ask me more questions, ask me to work out critical thinking problems, let me do more patient interaction and most importantly do MOST of the patient education. I was remembered on the floors where I worked, and nurses would seek me out do do IVs, catheters and such. I was also able to make an impression on the Director of Nursing, who gave me her business card and told me to "Call her" when I get my license.

    You are in an industry that is overcrowded with new nurses and you need to stand out. I look at every clinical not only as an learning time, but also as an audition each and every time I step on the floor. You do not need to change who you are forever, just for this short time while you are in school and until you get some experience under your belt. Even the shyest nurse needs to be able to "get loud" when she is advocating for her patients. It is definitely out of my comfort zone, but it is making me a better nurse and I am getting more out of my education that I am spending so much money on.

    Good luck, my heart goes out to you!
    TallSN, KJDa81, genovese, and 9 others like this.
  6. Visit  GrnTea profile page
    18
    There's a difference between introversion and shyness. There are many, many introverted nurses (oddly, I am one, though many wouldn't guess it). You will love this TED talk.
    Susan Cain: The power of introverts | Video on TED.com

    At some point, however, you will be called upon to advocate for a patient who cannot advocate for himself. You'd better be prepared to stand up and do that, or you will be failing in one of nursing's most important duties, and your patient will suffer for your being too shy to do it more than you will by sucking up and doing it.
    KJDa81, sharanza930, lorirn2b, and 15 others like this.
  7. Visit  schnookimz profile page
    6
    I worked on a neurology floor where many patients were not able to fully comprehend things. These patients would become agitated, frustrated, and at times aggressive. A nurse has to be able to step up and diffuse the situation, lay ground rules, refuse a patient's wishes if it means keeping them safe (ex: "no you cannot get out of bed"). Shy would not work in these situations. You need to be in control.

    Also, many times patients and families are scared and worried and simply take out their anxieties on you, the nurse, because you are there. You need to be able to hold your own, prove you can control the situation, and have a plan. Being shy and introverted sometimes just means people will begin to walk all over you--don't let that happen!
    KJDa81, jabyrd, 1feistymama, and 3 others like this.
  8. Visit  JaRoJoCT profile page
    4
    sevenup0307: So fake 'til you make it basically! Got yah! Thanks!
    lorirn2b, jabyrd, 1feistymama, and 1 other like this.
  9. Visit  JaRoJoCT profile page
    5
    Wow! Amazing responses....I knew I could count on you guys to tell me exactly what I needed to hear! It's not about me....a problem I had my first time around in the program....it's about my patients. I can definitely speak up and out for them! Love you guys!!
    lorirn2b, jabyrd, 1feistymama, and 2 others like this.
  10. Visit  pookyp profile page
    0
    I was told the same thing too. I'm slowly coming out of my shell.
  11. Visit  BooBear'sMommy profile page
    1
    Quote from ebailey1218
    My first semester I was the shy, introverted, go-with-the flow student standing at the back. I watched my classmates get picked to assist on all kinds of procedures or get asked to observe cool things. I noticed when I came out of my shell second semester, my own nurses I was following would ask me more questions, ask me to work out critical thinking problems, let me do more patient interaction and most importantly do MOST of the patient education. I was remembered on the floors where I worked, and nurses would seek me out do do IVs, catheters and such. I was also able to make an impression on the Director of Nursing, who gave me her business card and told me to "Call her" when I get my license.

    You are in an industry that is overcrowded with new nurses and you need to stand out. I look at every clinical not only as an learning time, but also as an audition each and every time I step on the floor. You do not need to change who you are forever, just for this short time while you are in school and until you get some experience under your belt. Even the shyest nurse needs to be able to "get loud" when she is advocating for her patients. It is definitely out of my comfort zone, but it is making me a better nurse and I am getting more out of my education that I am spending so much money on.

    Good luck, my heart goes out to you!
    Very well said!
    DisneyNurseGal likes this.
  12. Visit  ArrowRN profile page
    1
    Quote from pookyp
    I was told the same thing too. I'm slowly coming out of my shell.
    Totally agree with initial post...but to pookyp I ask...why do we even have to "come out of our shell"? I facing the same problem in nursing school and its really quite bizarre that one has to be loud , chatty and can't be shy to be a good nurse. I just can't think straight with if many extroverts are around. I'm totally fine one on one and most patient care is just that. Anyways for whatever reason clinical instructors hate shy and introvert students so be warned...almost got me kicked out 1st semester but I made it. Quickly changed her mind when she saw I was able to plan and executed an entire educational presentation for a bunch of school students taking health ed.
    Thing is they don't even know the whole other side of me. I choose to let people see what side I want them to see.
    jabyrd likes this.
  13. Visit  KelRN215 profile page
    4
    You need to be assertive to be a nurse, that is absolutely true. Especially if you're working in a teaching hospital. You need to be assertive in advocating for your patients and, when it inevitably happens that a Resident refuses to listen and won't take your concerns seriously, you need to be assertive in escalating the chain of command.
    JBudd, Kandy83, Teresag_CNS, and 1 other like this.
  14. Visit  crossfitnurse profile page
    2
    Have you all done your Myers Briggs personality test??? This can actually help you see how you are in certain situations and make you aware of how other see you.
    I am an introvert but when it comes to nursing school and clinicals (or any situation where I need to be outgoing and assertive) I am able to do that!
    Some people just aren't aware of how other perceive them BUT if you learn more about how you work and operate you can make adjustments to be more assertive or outgoing. Enneagram is also a GREAT one too!!! It made me realize how I deal with people and situations and how I could act differently to create a better outcome.
    Seriously take a few min and do it - it will change your perspective on yourself and really help!
    1feistymama and JaRoJoCT like this.
  15. Visit  ArrowRN profile page
    4
    Quote from KelRN215
    You need to be assertive to be a nurse, that is absolutely true. Especially if you're working in a teaching hospital. You need to be assertive in advocating for your patients and, when it inevitably happens that a Resident refuses to listen and won't take your concerns seriously, you need to be assertive in escalating the chain of command.
    I agree there is a time and place to be assertive, but I think most introverts or shy people (yeah I know its different) can take that stand when the time comes to advocate for the REAL patient. But in school we just don't see the need to walk around like that all the time. Even in lab I don't see the need. In the heat of the situation we can be just as assertive as anyone else. There's no need for instructors to push that agenda early in a school setting, especially when we still focused on accumulating knowledge.
    TallSN, Hygiene Queen, priorities2, and 1 other like this.


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