Do you need a tough personality to survive in Nursing?

  1. 0
    Hi!

    I've posted this on the general nursing forum as I was hoping to gain some perspective from experienced nurses (especially) about the working environment in the nursing field.

    I am wanting to pursue a batchelor in Nursing/Midwifery as a mature age student. I expected to be nervous about starting the course and doing well in it but I am now also beginning to feel extremely anxious about the said "horizontal voilence" and "**********" that is often experienced by many in this field.


    I am by nature a kind hearted and caring person with a very gentle personality. I am respectful and don't make a habit of being rude or displaying a negative attitude. I want to learn and do well within the field for my patients. I have a great deal of respect for Nurses and the brilliant work you all do day in and day out and I want to learn from the great Nurses out there so I too can be a great Nurse myself.

    Do you need a tough personality to survive in Nursing? I always felt Nurses would be supportive of one another...am I ignorant to think this? Much of what I read, including from Nurses seems to be quite the contrary. I realise that Nursing is first and foremost about caring for patients, that's why I want to be a Nurse. Even if Nursing is "******" , I still want to be a Nurse, I just worry that I won't have the mental strenght it takes and that I will crumble So many Nurses seem to want to warn others off Nursing as a career and although this may be for many reasons, workplace bullying seems to pop up quite a bit. Would be nice to hear from some Nurses who love their job or find value in what they do Surely Nursing sees some great teams working on wards.


    I also worry about being a Student Nurse on clinicals and being "in the way" or "asking too many silly questions". I worry about feeling alone and unsupported in my learning. I will be no doubt so nerwous to begin with and I don't want this to be off putting to the Nurse/s around me who will be there to assist with my learning.

    I was wondering if there were any qualified Nurses (or even Student Nurses) that could give me some advice on what to expect and how to best deal with my concerns. Am I worrying too much over nothing? Are there things that Student Nurses should / shouldn't do to better help themselves? Will a strong willingness to learn and show initiative at clinicals assist with developing better working relationships with the qualified and experienced Nurses around you? Or, is it merely a case of just building that bridge and "sucking it up"

    Thank you so much and sorry for the long post!!

  2. 12 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    Contrary to contemporary mythology, nurses are just people, and the nursing profession has its share of jerks. With that said, the majority of nurses are wholesome, good hearted people, and will cause you no problems. As for the jerks, you have to stand up for yourself, and defend yourself just as you would stand up for one of your patients. Over the years, one of the things that has disappointed me most about some nurses is their false sense of self-sacrifice--they allow themselves to be mistreated and disrespected in ways they would never allow their patients or families to be treated. I always thought "If you can't stand up for yourself, how can you advocate for your patients?"
    nursel56 and anotherone like this.
  4. 0
    there are all types of nurses and all types of nursing jobs. So you will probably find a fit somewhere.
  5. 0
    Thanks so much for your reply ddunnrn, I can see the point you are making in regards to having the ability to stand up for yourself and how this also enables you to be a better patient advocate...you do make sense here I guess you expect that there's always going to be one in every bunch that rocks the boat, it's nice however to hear that the majority of Nurses are good hearted people and obvousily Nursing for all the right reasons

    Thanks classicdame, I couldn't agree with you more! With so many different avenues to pursue i'm sure there are roles to suit all types of Nurses and their varied interests and personalities.
  6. 1
    Google assertiveness and learn the difference between quiet, gentle strength and nervous people pleasing. If you are strong on the inside, you will be able to handle yourself and others with grace under pressure. If you aren't, you are much more likely to get pushed around and treated with disrespect.

    Most nurses are decent people who have occasional bad days. We all tend to become a little less polite when time and resources run short. And sometimes people are dealing with horrendous personal problems--ill health, family pressures, financial strains--but if you're calm and confident in your spirit, you can weather these kinds of storms without taking things too much to heart. You can even reach out to another person who is struggling and understand if they snap at you. I think this is part of what you mean when you ask about having a tough personality.

    I would encourage you to rely on a strong and stable support system away from school or job. Wanting to do well professionally is fine, but if you look to classmates or co-workers for personal validation, you make yourself vulnerable and set yourself up to draw fire from those who are unhappy. You need a good moral compass and the loyalty of people you trust to be able to separate legitimate criticism from snarky snits. This goes double when they come wrapped in the same package.

    Students expect to have to acquire nursing knowledge and practice clinical skills, but they don't always think about learning effective communication and practicing assertiveness and confidence. One without the other is incomplete.

    Here are links to a couple of articles that elaborate:

    http://allnurses.com/general-nursing...-i-648271.html

    http://allnurses.com/general-nursing...-i-648429.html

    You can use the information in these blog articles whether you become a nurse or not.

    Let us know what happens.
    SHGR likes this.
  7. 2
    Thanks rn/writer for your reply and for the insight, some fantastic advice!

    Hmmm...the difference between quiet, gentle strenght and nervous people pleasing...the two are indeed very dissimilar. The two articles you recommended were great reading and on some levels I think I can relate to the content within. I think being aware of this will help me immensely. This is what I meant by having a tougher personality...perhaps better explained as a thicker skin. One things for sure, i'm certainly going to practice the techniques of assertiveness and confidence in my training along with the obvious and important nursing knowledge and clinical skills. I hadn't as yet considered how important this might actually be to me and my future professional development as a Nurse. My guess is it's just as important to learn these skills so that you can engage in more effective and positive communication with co-workers.
    rn/writer and SHGR like this.
  8. 0
    Hello! Congratulations on starting your new career path. I work OB and can tell you OB staff are often referred to as "strong personalities." When we work as a team we are unstoppable, and when we work against each other it gets vicious. But it is a worthwhile job, and I take so much pride in what I do. At the end of the day, I dont care whose toes I stepped on or who snapped at me during report because my greater goal is so much more important than trivial bull. I learned in school to cry in the shower when you get overwhelmed or get to just feeling bad. And if that doesnt work, cry to All Nurses! Nursing school is an amazing experience and any nurse that is mean to you as a student is just ridiculous so don't sweat that! I encourage you to be open minded, accept people for who they are, and know that YOU will bring something unique to the table. I sincerely hope this journey works out in your favor! Take care.
  9. 0
    Thank you pinknblue82, I feel very inspired after reading your post! I really appreciate your advice and the kind words of encouragement! It really does help ease the nerves!

    Thanks to all the wonderful Nurses who are posting on this thread!! You're all helping me to gain the perspective I was after and again helping to ease any concerns I had
  10. 0
    Tough personality?
    You need an assertive personality and thicker skin to work in the medical field, period.
    If it's not the docs, it's the patients...if it's not the patients? It's the families. If it's not them? It's the coworkers.
    You're dealing with people. Not 'things'. Comes with the territory.
    It's no different in other sections of the hospital, i.e., nursing. You're going to deal with b---y nurses in clinicals. Just how it is. We never did anything to those women...besides exist.


    Quote from pinknblue82
    Hello! Congratulations on starting your new career path. I work OB and can tell you OB staff are often referred to as "strong personalities." When we work as a team we are unstoppable, and when we work against each other it gets vicious. But it is a worthwhile job, and I take so much pride in what I do. At the end of the day, I dont care whose toes I stepped on or who snapped at me during report because my greater goal is so much more important than trivial bull. I learned in school to cry in the shower when you get overwhelmed or get to just feeling bad. And if that doesnt work, cry to All Nurses! Nursing school is an amazing experience and any nurse that is mean to you as a student is just ridiculous so don't sweat that! I encourage you to be open minded, accept people for who they are, and know that YOU will bring something unique to the table. I sincerely hope this journey works out in your favor! Take care.
    I thought it was just my clinical class who thought this.
    LOL
    Don't get me wrong, the OB nurses are very nice and helpful. Actually, they were the first batch of nurses encountered who could actually be called 'nice'. LOL
    They all seemed to back each other up, too. They liked us students so...that was ood too.
    They were sweet, but they all seemed to have a spine of steel. All of them. Even my 2 clinical instructors (1 who taught maternity and another who taught a/p + maternity) were very 'to the point'. Not rude. Just very upfront and plain-spoken.
    Some tough cookies.
    I dunno what I thought a 'baby' nurse would be like, but it was something akin to some woman walking around in a 'Jesus halo', all sweetness and light, with rainbows, unicorns and Lucky Charms shooting out of her butt.
    I don't know.
    LOL.
    I remember, during a delivery, the mother was all, "I can't do it..." and having all kinds of fit?
    Well, the nurse and the female doc told that woman to stop that talking and concentrate on pushing, because she was wasting her energy with all that crying.
    It wasn't mean. Just very matter of fact...and the mother hushed right on up, too. They had to keep re-focusing her because, as the doc suspected, she'd abrupted and they had to get that baby out of there. The doc was just scooping out blood and showing it to me. "See, it's wine red. When it's this color -- "
    The RN was showing me the strip with the DCels.
    Never miss an opportunity to teach. LOL It was a very messy situation.

    I really liked the environment though. They didn't seem to be as gossipy as other units. I've just never figured myself for an OB nurse.
  11. 1
    nurses are people, too. some are great, some not so great. everyone has good days and bad days. get rid of the idea that nurses are angels or saints; we're not. we're people doing a tough job in the face of budget cuts and the customer service (rather than health care) craze.

    i'm not sure a "tough personality" is an asset, although assertiveness and a thick skin definitely will be. as is a stainless steel spine -- you'll need that to advocate for your patients. you'll need to cultivate a calm and confident demeanor -- losing your cool rarely solves a problem. (i won't say never, but i wouldn't recommend it as a strategy!) and if you can be friendly and upbeat that's a plus, too.

    and please, please, please lose the idea that there are "right reasons" and "wrong reasons" to go into nursing. some of the best nurses i know didn't go into it because they had "a calling" or because they "just want to help people." worry about your own reasons for wanting to be a nurse; someone else's reasons are none of your business.
    Aurora77 likes this.


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