Stuttering Stupid Nurse

  1. 3
    So...I'm not looking for sympathy or anything. I think I just need to get this out. If you judge me for my decision then you judge me but know that I am hurting inside and feel hopeless.

    I have a stutter and it's worse when I'm nervous. I'm a recent new grad and got my first job as an RN in May 2012 and I knew that my stutter was going to make it difficult at times to talk to patients, doctors, coworkers, and family members but I never thought that it would be this hard. There were times when I couldn't even say "Hi my name is.." or "I have some medication for you" and when it did happen the patients would look at me and wonder what was wrong with me or maybe they thought I was dumb or incompetent because of my stutter. And to make matters worse speaking Spanish is a must in my area and I stutter a lot worse when attempting to speak the little Spanish I know. The look on the patients face of confusion/doubt was the worst.

    My coworkers started to notice and I heard one of them announcing to the other nurses there "dude, she talks all stupid." and they laughed...I pretended not to notice but ended up tearing up in the bathroom. I can't begin to explain how hard it is to speak as a person who stutters (I think only a stutterer would understand). I've tried hard to find ways to hide it and when someone notices it it completely embarrasses me and devastates me. I admitted a patient the other day the charge nurse wanted to see me do it and I stuttered so bad and then she called in an experienced nurse to finish up the admit assessment. The patient said "oh thank god. you seem to have better speech than this one" I shrugged it off. but called in sick to the work the next day. I quickly became depressed and doubted my ability to ever be a nurse if I can't even communicate effectively and I was highly stressed. The skills weren't the problem but the communication was. So before giving myself I chance, I quit.

    And I don't know whether or not to pursue with nursing or to try something...anything else but every job requires speaking. I know I didn't even give myself a chance and I feel absolutely terrible that I did quit. I guess I just want to know if anyone else stutters here or knows someone who stutters. I already feel stupid for quitting and I know that I shouldn't have so please don't be mean about it.
    Last edit by TheCommuter on Jun 29, '12 : Reason: formatting
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  3. 36 Comments so far...

  4. 8
    No meanness here. This may be a stupid, obvious question but have you sought out therapy for your stuttering? Many people stutter and have learned how to control it. It is going to be worse in times of stress, as you have said, and there are few things more stressful than being a brand new grad. I wish you the best of luck and hope you can get the help you need to thrive in your career.
    Gold_SJ, wooh, RunnerRN2b2014, and 5 others like this.
  5. 2
    I can not even begin to imagine how difficult that situation was for you. I don't really understand it, but I think any time you have trouble communicating things begin to be frustrating. Being new did not help matters.

    Firstly, I think the other poster is correct, you need to seek out, or continue whatever therapy you can do for the stutter, it can get better. I am sure you know of or have heard of over the years the many brilliant people who had a stutter. You are not stupid and can be a good nurse...One step in getting there will be gaining better control over the stuttering. Patients of course will not be expected to be understanding of accomodating because they are ill and very concerned about why they feel bad, what the diagnosis means for them etc... BUT the other staff- SHAME on them for what was said.

    Did you share with your manager/charge RN or preceptor that you have a stutter? I know for me, when I have some sort of issues, I find I am more confident when I simply share up front in a non-pressure situation. Something like, "I do have a stutter and it can get worse if I feel nervous. I've been working on it and it is getting better each day, but please understand that sometimes I might have some trouble." Thus, your charges etc, know whats going on, and can try to help you out, by possibly starting an admission while you get comfortable with the pt or what not.

    You have a BIG challenge to overcome. But, you can do it. You made it through Nursing school- which involved a lot of pt interaction etc. take some time to get things in place to allow yourself to succeed.
    wooh and Meriwhen like this.
  6. 1
    My husband has a pretty bad stutter. He has been in therapy since a child. While he has is somewhat under control, being in stressful environments makes it a million times worse. He is often thought to be dumb or retarded. It is very embarassing for him. It upsets me as I know how smart and capable he is. It infuriates me when people make ignorant remarks as well. He has always wanted to be a lawyer, but he doesn't want the constant remarks that you are currently facing. There are so many people who do not understand what stuttering is. Even other healthcare workers, it is ridiculous! Good luck to you. I think venting on here will help. If I can help please let me know.
    RunnerRN2b2014 likes this.
  7. 3
    First off I am so sorry some people have been so rude to you, as people first nurses second we can be plain mean. I dont care what your issue is, obese, deaf, blind, cripple, whatever no one has the right to make fun of anyone. Mel Tillis was a great country western singer he could sing any song you played but he could not say 3 words without stuttering. He would come on stage and say hell...hell..hello, im .....melllllll, tilllis then sing the song perfect. He took therapy and later was able to speak relatively plain. Dont ever give up .... you are a nurse you passed school clinicals and boards, dont let nothing take that from you.There are all sorts of jobs as nurses some with pt care some without. Find your spot and fullfill your destiny. Love and prayers.
    sharanza930, sweetnurse63, and JazzRN like this.
  8. 0
    I agree with everyone who says you need to look into speech therapy help.

    Obviously, you made it through clinicals, etc with this challenge - what helped you then?

    Don't be too hard on the pts and their families.They are unwell and under a lot of stress. Communication is such an important part of health care that they may be concerned that important information may not be shared due to your stuttering.

    Good luck.
  9. 1
    I suspect that part of your misery is being a new grad with low morale and zero self-confidence. The low morale and confidence is almost standard and most of us remember how that felt.
    I could be destroyed with the mildest criticism back then.
    Luckily self confidence is earned over time, skills improve, and you can use your stuttering as a source of compassion for people who suffer in other ways.
    Sometimes I tell my son to make a point "you didn't like it when you had all those tics and people made fun of you."
    Fearless_leader likes this.
  10. 0
    I don't stutter, but I have periods of brain fog when I accidentally ingest food I shouldn't eat (I have a gluten intolerance, and gluten can make my mind do some pretty strange things) or when my blood levels happen to be low. I know the feeling of frustration when you're not able to properly convey something or communicate effectively. Sometimes, my brain fog is bad that I find myself mixing up words, or I have trouble saying simple sentences without hesitating or having to concentrate harder than I normally would. It's a VERY frustrating feeling, especially when other people are quick to make judgments and assume the worst in a person.

    I agree with other members that you may benefit from speech therapy, if that's something you can afford. Also, maybe some stress-relieving activities (yoga, meditation) to help you relax or handle your stress levels on more of a broad basis can further prevent your stutters. I know meditation and writing has helped me gain a greater focus on myself so as to not concentrate on my inabilities, but instead work around them and be confident in knowing that I can still succeed. Hope I've helped. PM me if you ever want to talk.
  11. 0
    I get the same type of fog as jazz, either tongue tied or tripping over the words. No real cause I've figured out, just happens. I stop trying to talk, take a deep breath & start again.

    I agree with the question about how you handled clinicals. Can you do the same thing until your confidence overcomes your nerves?

    Good luck, hang in there.
  12. 0
    i'm with the others who suggest speech therapy...
    and am very sympathetic to your situation.
    people can be cruel, as you have discovered...
    and i'd like to see you attain enough confidence where you're not affected by others criticisms.

    see what you can do for yourself, before going back to nursing...
    and then return when you're feeling stronger and less vulnerable.

    keep us updated, ok?

    leslie


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