The introverted nurse

  1. 18

    I'm a nursing student. i just had my clinical eval and my prof focused almost the entire session on how quiet I was, how I need to be more assertive in clinicals, talk in class more, and be confident - have more of a presence so I can be a better advocate. He says he knows I have a lot of knowledge and insight but I need to show it to everyone. I said, but I always let my nurses know when there are issues with my patient and I ask them questions often. He said that's not it, I need to present myself as more assertive, confident. I'm sick of everyone in my life telling me how quiet I am. I feel like they are telling me something mean, like I'm fat or ugly, because obviously they don't see it as a positive attribute. Not to mention the eval revolved around accurate documentation, organization too but we never went over that stuff because all he could focus on was my quiet attribute.

    The funny thing is, I know I'm quiet but i like people. I love talking to people one on one which is why I went into nursing, so I could have patients! I've been a waitress off and on most of working life so it's not like I am absolute wallflower. I articulate myself well in presentations. But I'm not bubbly or outgoing especially not in a group setting which apparently seems to be a "needed" attribute as a nurse. I need to portray myself a certain way like some acting gig. Ugh, why can't an introvert have a break in this world???

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  2. 30 Comments...

  3. 1
    Yeah it's unfortunate but you do need to be kind of an outgoing type of person to really get **** done. Not that you can't get by as an introvert, but you still need to present yourself to patients and staff members as being confident.
    Last edit by ScottE,RN on May 17, '11
    ChristineN likes this.
  4. 11
    If it's your nature to be quiet, thats not a deficit. I think loud, always talking people to be annoying. But, I believe we need both types, loud and quiet. You will find your patients don't want so much to hear about you, but to tell you about them. Being quiet is an asset.
  5. 5
    It is okay to be introverted. In fact, I have met a lot of very good introverted nurses. Does that make you an incompetent nurse? No. You will learn when you need to come out of your shell and speak up for your patients when you need to. Sometimes, it's even better to be "quite". It can keep you out of trouble. Don't feel insecure about your personality. Yes, even quite nurses are good nurses. Just don't let it get in the way of taking care of your patients.
    loveoverpride, noahsmama, Gold_SJ, and 2 others like this.
  6. 2
    I'm very introverted. I prefer one-on-one contact.

    I do home hospice nursing. It's the perfect job for me
    Gold_SJ and esunada like this.
  7. 8
    Your patients will tell you that you're a calming presence. The last thing they want is someone with another 'presence' to be dealing with. As long as you are able to communicate when it's needed, I don't think it should be a problem. You probably have good listening skills.

    However, your coworkers might not be so kind. You might see all their chatter as wasting time, but honestly, it's how people get ahead. The more popular people will be promoted and notice by your manager. So do take time and be friendly as much as you can and chit-chat from time to time.
    loveoverpride, 2bAngilRN, Gold_SJ, and 5 others like this.
  8. 4
    Sounds like you're describing me. One of my teachers told me the same thing. He said I was quiet around him (that's another story) However, all my patients love me and I have never had a complaint.
    2bAngilRN, noahsmama, Gold_SJ, and 1 other like this.
  9. 9
    I know exactly what you are talking about! Actually I've followed this site for a few years and this is the first time I've ever replied to a post! I am also an introvert. I also HATE when people comment on how quite I am. I'm not quite all the time, but I am shy and have mild anxiety. When I first decided to go into nursing I worried about how my introvert personality would effect my ability to be a good nurse. Before getting my RN I did some work as a nurse's aide, ER tech, and home health aide. This type of work really improved my confidence in going into nursing. Every patient I encountered took a strong liking to me and I was constantly being told that "I was going to be an amazing nurse". It was almost shocking how often I was given this compliment. Why did so many take a liking to me? I really believe it had to do with one of the positive characteristics of being an introvert: I LISTENED to people. Patients can sense when a person is truly listening and a lot of times it gives them comfort.
    I am going to say, you do need to learn how to speak up (or atleast I did). In the beginning I was intimidated by other nurses and doctors. But when it comes to your patient you have to be able to address issues and good communication is a must. And I honestly found this part of nursing to be somewhat empowering as an introvert. I realized it wasn't about me or my "introvertedness"...its about whats best for the patient and for me I had to go outside of my comfort zone and really speak my mind at times, for the good of the patient. I think introverts can be great nurses! But you have to understand that you will have to push yourself at times and you will be better for it.
    Also a great book I recommend "The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World". Being a person who hated being referred to as quite and shy...this book really helped me realize how our type of personality can be a gift rather than curse! Good Luck!
    loveoverpride, mitral, 2bAngilRN, and 6 others like this.
  10. 20
    You can be introverted and still be a good nurse.

    You can be fat and still be a good nurse.

    You can be ugly and still be a good nurse.

    In fact, I'm pretty sure somewhere there is an introverted, fat, ugly nurse making a world of difference in a patient's life.

    Keep your chin up, as long as you know your stuff you should be fine.
  11. 4
    We have a very introverted nurse on my floor and she was nurse of the year for the whole hospital! She is a great pt advocate. When she speaks up about a pt concern everyone listens. So you can be a great nurse and an introvert.
    loveoverpride, mitral, Gold_SJ, and 1 other like this.

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