I'm a nurse and I don't like people.

  1. I went into nursing because I wanted a stable job with decent pay. I also wanted to be able to help people. I'm a compassionate person, but I'm also very introverted. In other words, people suck the life out of me.

    The longer I work in this field, the more I realize that I don't care for people much. Not necessarily my patients but other nurses, management, family members of patients, etc. I find most people to be backstabbing, selfish jerks. The blame game runs rampant.

    I take awesome care of my patients, they are the only ones who get a pass when they are mean or grouchy towards me but it's the others that I can't stand.

    I relish in my time alone, with my boyfriend and dogs. I get invited to work stuff but rarely go because I can't stand the fakeness. I don't have a lot of friends and it doesn't bother me in the least. I like to be alone in my thoughts.

    I feel that most people nowadays only care about themselves and I don't even care to get to know them. I probably sound like a complete cynic but I really try to be a good person. Often to the extent that I get completely screwed. My job is my only social life because its enough socializing for me.

    Am I the only one that feels this way?

    Will I survive nursing?
    Last edit by Joe V on Nov 16, '16
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  2. 67 Comments

  3. by   Mavrick
    HooBoy that's a tough one.

    According to this very website the newer nurses are not feelin' the love. They're taking anything they can get, with some having to actually move away from home to get even an icky low paying beginner job. So there's two strikes against nursing already.

    And working with people is almost a given. Crabby, sick people or stressed out, short staffed co-workers.

    What about a morticians assistant? Dog walker? Fire tower lookout?
  4. by   TheCommuter
    I'm a hardcore introvert who doesn't really enjoy mingling with people. I've been a nurse for a little more than nine years. How do I cope?

    1. Compressed shifts (three 12-hour shifts or two 16-hour shifts) enable me to spend less days at work, which results in less days of face time with patients, families and coworkers. I had extreme difficulty with the interpersonal aspects of the job when I worked five 8-hour shifts, and I felt drained.

    2. Focus on your interests outside the workplace. Develop a hobby, pursuit, or interest and devote your time to that. Try to cultivate a full life outside work.

    3. Work PRN/per diem if your financial situation allows for this change in status. When I felt socially drained and no longer wanted to be around people, I simply stopped scheduling myself to work shifts.

    4. Prepare for a career in nursing that entails less face-to-face interaction with others. Become a case manager. Earn an MSN degree and obtain a job as an online nursing professor who works from home.

    Good luck to you!
  5. by   No Stars In My Eyes
    You know, I am an extroverted introvert; I'm quite animated and outgoing at work, but my time is my time. I don't do a lot of socializing either; groups and crowds suck the life out of me when I'd rather just stay at home with hubby and the dogs. At least with AN I get to socialize quietly, and at my leisure.
    I really love most of my patients but after spending 12 hours with my attention turned outward, I'm happy to get home. I rarely attend anything if I can help it!

    Edited to add: I used to work a hospital float pool so I'd not be assigned the same floor with the same patients and personnel. Home Health full-time Week-ends was good that way, too; not so much of the stultifying sameness day-to-day.
  6. by   DoeRN
    I'm an introvert too and I work Mon-Fri in an outpatient clinic. I find it better than working the floor. The patients are still sick but they don't suck the life out of me like they did on the floor. Now some of my coworkers and one of the doctors, well that's a different story. I took some time off from school because of a family member being sick but I'm hoping to return so I can get a job where I can sit alone with no one bugging me all day. Look at all your options because there are plenty in nursing.
  7. by   mama.RN
    I'm right there with you, as a fellow introvert. In line with TheCommuter's advice, I'd recommend finding a nursing job where you don't have the constant exposure to these situations that are so draining. A position where you're working alone or one-on-one with patients for a majority of the time, something with a lot of autonomy. You might find that to be much more enjoyable, where you can practice nursing, but without the rest of it that you don't like. Trust me, it makes all the difference.
  8. by   Mavrick
    OK, I'll give a more useful answer this time.

    I didn't realize I am actually an introvert until I had a job working nights in the PACU. I was in-house to cover trauma/emergency surgical cases but we only had a case maybe 1-2 times a week. Most of my night I spent making stretchers and cleaning/stocking the Pre-Op and PACU for the next day. People would ask, "What do you do all night?, How do you stay awake?, Do you get lonely?"

    I found I was very good at giving myself projects to do. I'd select some fun music on Pandora, then get to work. Preparing the schedule for the next day, organizing all the stations, making forms and checklists, did audits on the Doc's paperwork, put up decorations for the holidays, spend time in the Cardiac Rehab gym, did some stretching /yoga, of course surfed the web. My manager loved me because none of the other PACU nurses had to take night call during the week (much less crabbing) and the surgical areas were always clean, stocked and ready to go at 0600. I really did not miss working with people. The night would fly by and I was leaving as the day shift (and all the drama that goes with it) arrived.

    I now work an evening shift that is much more tiring due to the exhausting effect of working with people. As said above, it is very draining.

    I'm still open to being a Fire Tower Lookout.
    Last edit by Mavrick on Apr 19, '15
  9. by   No Stars In My Eyes
    My bro is now a PT. Prior to that he worked as a carpenter 6 mos of the year to be able to spend the other 6 months out in the wilderness areas. Sometimes he could get a job as a carpenter repairing cabins/old buildings in the Sate Parks. Win/win. But all good things must come to an end. Years of carpentry did a number on his joints and swinging a hammer became difficult and painful. I know he longs for the days when he didn't have to deal with people so much.
  10. by   bluegeegoo2
    I'm a complete introvert who would like nothing more than to be invisible, though I feel floating cups of meds and paperwork seemingly straightening itself would cause some issue with residents and staff. Moving on, I tend to keep all interactions with staff and family at a minimum. I don't chit chat about my personal life nor do I strike up conversations with people other than my residents. I hear about all of the drama and catty behaviors, but I keep my head down and mouth shut in order to avoid becoming part of it. In other words, I go in and focus on my residents, do my job and go home. No one at work has my phone number (other than management) and I don't have a social media account of any kind. I keep very clear boundaries for the express purpose of keeping my work life and home life separate and that arrangement works very well for me. The thought of having coworkers involved in my personal life makes me tired. They drain me plenty enough at work with all of the petty drama and non-sense. My home is my sanctuary and drama is not welcome here.
  11. by   mclennan
    Oh, dear fellow introvert. Please don't be bamboozled into thinking case management is the answer! I've worked in CM off and on for the last 6 years and let me tell you, even though some CM jobs don't require face-to-face, you will have more contacts per day with dreaded PEOPLE than you ever will in an entire week in a direct care job! There are no patient ratio laws to protect nurse case managers, and with so much EBP directed toward outcomes affecting reimbursement now, case managers are DOGPILED with panels of 100+ patients to manage, often with no help. It varies wildly employer to employer, but it is my theory that because CM as a specialty is so under-developed in terms of standards of practice, each company just makes up their protocols as they go. There are even 3 specialty certifications available for CM - that is how fractured it is. I'm tired of hearing CM advised as some golden ticket out of bedside nursing when often it's just as much a nightmare as the floor, sometimes worse. Maybe it will get better as CM is spotlighted for a lot of new developments, but as with any nursing practice standards, improvements will take a VERY long time to come to fruition.

    Look into utilization management instead!
  12. by   Marshall1
    I, like others who have posted, do not share details of my personal life - if someone asks, I give general answers. In turn, I do not ask my coworkers anything about their lives either. I have no interest in socializing outside the work setting with them but that would be the case with anyone...I have no interest in going to parties, dinner w/a ton of people etc. I prefer my time alone or w/my spouse/animals. Often times coworkers seem to think that being coworkers = being friends - in my opinion it doesn't and doesn't have to.
    For those that want to hang out after work, on their days off, text/Facebook, whatever, great but like others on here, I politely set boundaries from the beginning. I also went from FT to PRN for some of the reason others listed..I don't have to work back to back shifts or work w/the same set of people/patients daily. I find 12 hr shifts to be more like 13-14 so that is another reason I prefer flexibility is the schedule. I am hopeful there will be enough work PRN shifts but if not, I will seek out another PRN position in addition to this one to avoid having to work a true FT position.
    There is nothing wrong with knowing your limitations and working within those. Not everyone is meant to be a social butterfly.
  13. by   anewsns
    I actually lean toward the extraverted side , but am sensitive to the politics and rudeness at work and find that drains me a lot. And I tend to be too "nice" for this environment .. I don't know if this helps at all , I just make a big deal of blocking all that out and if I run across people who are known to drain me , I really ignore them and keep interaction to a very professional bare minimum and move on . If they see that they can't get me involved in their excessive problems they usually leave me alone . Being able to choose what to focus on gives me energy. It's been 5 years and I'm just getting the hang of this. Again , not an introverted problem but a sensitivity / boundaries problem. Also , not everyone is backstabbing and catty. IF they are, there is more likely a problem with the system / management . I try to weed out the real problems and steer clear of what I can.
  14. by   MBARNBSN
    Quote from TheCommuter
    I'm a hardcore introvert who doesn't really enjoy mingling with people. I've been a nurse for a little more than nine years. How do I cope?


    4. Prepare for a career in nursing that entails less face-to-face interaction with others. Become a case manager. Earn an MSN degree and obtain a job as an online nursing professor who works from home.

    Good luck to you!
    Very good advice except for the part I bolded. I have worked in Case Management in the hospital setting for years and have direct one-on-one contact with patients and others. Even Utilization Management (chart reviews to justify payment of medical services rendered) requires a nurse to talk to MDs and others when cases need to be submitted for additional review. This requires the nurse to be able to speak effectively to others, which requires a great deal of politics. On the other hand, nursing does not have to happen in the hospital setting. Maybe this is what you mean?

    OP: Look into telephonic nursing. There are various specialties involved, such as Case Management, Advice Nursing, Chronic Illness Management, etc.), where an introverted nurse only has to speak to the patient or caregiver and can control the conversation. Good luck.

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