What's the best specialty for someone who hates small talk?

  1. I'm looking for suggestions from my fellow introverted nurses: what specialties have you tried or heard of that are a good fit for someone who is not so fond of small talk? I am currently working in a med-surg unit on nights and find even the small amount of interaction with families to be incredibly draining. Before I worked in med-surg I actually worked in the NICU, but the long-term relationships with families for 2-3 months at a time was REALLY not my thing (my hospital did primary nursing and picking up one patient for that long terrified me because of running out of things to talk about with the parents after only one shift.) I was hoping med-surg would not require as much small talk as the NICU did, but I haven't found that to be the case. I really admire those who can talk to patients so effortlessly, but for me, that is the most draining part of the job, not the acuity, business, patho, or critical thinking. Would love to hear what specialties are a good fit for us introverts!
    Last edit by climbeRN on Jan 13
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   Guy in Babyland
    I found that night shift in NICU had very little small talk with parents. Most parents visited during the day (if at all) and by 9 pm most have left.

    Surgery or Research might be a good option
  4. by   climbeRN
    Thanks Guy in babyland for the input!! I have been thinking I never really have night shift in the NICU a fair shot since I was on days almost all of my time there. Research is another thing I've considered but a little harder to find an opening! Will keep trying stuff until I find a niche
  5. by   RainMom
    Very little chit chat in PACU. Pts are usually sleepy or hurting & are not interested in talking. If they are, then it's probably time to discharge them to the next level of care (and no families).
  6. by   Guy in Babyland
    Quote from RainMom
    Very little chit chat in PACU. Pts are usually sleepy or hurting & are not interested in talking. If they are, then it's probably time to discharge them to the next level of care (and no families).
    When they are talkative, their conversations can be comical coming out of anesthesia.
  7. by   Dakeirus
    My two loves:

    ICU - If they're sedated and vented, you just come to the room and do your thing.

    PACU- Most of the time they're too drowsy to talk to you. And if they're chatty--ask them if they have pain so you can put them to sleep with some dilaudid.
  8. by   climbeRN
    Hahaha yep I'm thinking of trying NICU nights to avoid all the talking with parents or giving adult ICU shot. Just no family drama please! It's hard enough to concentrate on a critical pt without the drama!
  9. by   KristinWW
    I agree with everything except PACU. The above was true in the past; today, there are never beds available so family members are always brought to PACU to see pt, and it turns into a freeforall with families asking for chairs, beverages, food, and yes, the dreaded small talk. In fact, pts are often held overnight. It's tough but I liked the night shift NICU idea.
  10. by   PeekabooICU77
    How long have you been doing this? I ask because I'm a huge introvert and small talk is so painful for me. My med-surg experience was so busy that I could not have chit-chatted with my patients even if I wanted to (sad, I know).

    I'm in an ICU now and I have a mix of rapid recovery post-ops that I'm extubating and keeping til the morning, and sedated ventilated patients. if my patients are awake enough to be talking to me (and stable), I can be more helpful to my coworkers so there's less awkward alone time in my patient's room.

    Keep in mind the hospital is a scary foreign place for most patients. Small talk is a good distraction for them and helps make human connection. Over time, you will probably feel more comfortable. I think patients and families can sense when conversation is forced or if we are not being genuine, so often if conversation doesn't flow, I'm not afraid to be present and be silent. With those kinds of patients, to increase the sense of my presence, I'd try to do my charting in the room, and even charting for other stuff I need to catch up on, in which I'll say something like "I'm just going to do some charting in the computer here, don't mind me but don't feel like you're interrupting me if you need anything."

    I've been with peds a few times, which I found more difficult to interact with parents. I felt 100x more awkward. Idk about your hospital or patient type but parents are around at night just as much.

    In summary, I'd try to deal with your introversion and finding ways to make it work with your nursing style, not just avoiding people as much as possible. Even if that would be so much easier
  11. by   Southsam7
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  12. by   Southsam7
    This is a mistake. Someone please delete Error error error
    Last edit by Southsam7 on Jan 20 : Reason: Error
  13. by   Southsam7
    English mistake. Mistake
  14. by   Southsam7
    Quote from peekabooicu77
    how long have you been doing this? I ask because i'm a huge introvert and small talk is so painful for me. My med-surg experience was so busy that i could not have chit-chatted with my patients even if i wanted to (sad, i know).

    I'm in an icu now and i have a mix of rapid recovery post-ops that i'm extubating and keeping til the morning, and sedated ventilated patients. If my patients are awake enough to be talking to me (and stable), i can be more helpful to my coworkers so there's less awkward alone time in my patient's room.

    Keep in mind the hospital is a scary foreign place for most patients. Small talk is a good distraction for them and helps make human connection. Over time, you will probably feel more comfortable. I think patients and families can sense when conversation is forced or if we are not being genuine, so often if conversation doesn't flow, i'm not afraid to be present and be silent. With those kinds of patients, to increase the sense of my presence, i'd try to do my charting in the room, and even charting for other stuff i need to catch up on, in which i'll say something like "i'm just going to do some charting in the computer here, don't mind me but don't feel like you're interrupting me if you need anything."

    i've been with peds a few times, which i found more difficult to interact with parents. I felt 100x more awkward. Idk about your hospital or patient type but parents are around at night just as much.

    In summary, i'd try to deal with your introversion and finding ways to make it work with your nursing style, not just avoiding people as much as possible. Even if that would be so much easier
    i agree with your last paragraph 100%

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