Old new RN with Social Anxiety

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    Hello all! I decided to write on this website because I really need advice on how to start my professional life, since it took me a lot of effort and dedication to become an RN-BSN.I graduated from nursing school over a year ago, and got my license two months after graduation. After getting my license I started applying everywhere within my state (Florida) with no luck. I wanted to apply to residency programs, but all of them required recommendation letters from the school I went to, and I didn't have any, because of my social anxiety, which didn't let me interact much with others throughout nursing school, not even with the instructors. I don't have many friends, and I feel very uncomfortable and awkward when I am around people. Now I think nursing wasn't for me since it requires lots of interaction with people, but at this time I can't do anything about it, and to be honest I like my profession, and I truly want to make use of it, the only thing holding me back is my social anxiety, I am too scared to go to interviews. At first when I just graduated I was ok with going to interviews because my mind was fresh with knowledge and I was kind of used to be around people, especially nurses and managers and all the medical staff because of clinical rotations, but now over a year later it has become even way harder to even apply for positions, I feel like no one will hire me, I feel like at the interview the managers will notice my awkwardness and they will immediately decide not to hire me. All this time I've been trying to keep reading my books, and focus on EKG reading because I would love to work in a telemetry unit, since it is where I did most of my clinical rotations and practicum, but even with that I feel like I have forgotten many important concepts and medications, and that makes me a million times more nervous to go to interviews. I am most of the time isolated, and I feel very depressed. I see many of my classmates moving on with their professional lives, they are already experienced and I am way behind, and it makes me even way more depressed. I can't afford going to a psychologist for now, but I bought a book to overcome my social anxiety, and It didn't help much. I would really like to get a job where I won't be judged, but believe me, social anxiety is a debilitating condition and it's not easy to overcome, I don't even know if I will overcome it someday, but I would like to hear from you my colleagues to give me some advice on how to start my professional life. I live in the Miami area. Thank you for reading and replying!

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  2. 12 Comments...

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    Is there a health dept. or mental health public type facility you could contact for assistance? Often times there are therapist that are sliding scale fees. While reading the books are good, as one who knows EXACTLY what you are experiencing, they are not going to be enough..the more you isolate, the more you will over think and the more depressed/anxious/fearful you will become. It sounds like medication may be beneficial..do you have the ability to see a general practitioner? If not, research herbs such as St Johns's Wort..
    As difficult as it is, keep applying..to long term care, home health, hospitals..many times those of us w/anxiety think people are more focused on us than they really are.

    I don't know where in Florida you are - I use to live in the Northern part & I know there are some hospitals/long term care facilities and home health and hospice agencies that are hiring..I wish you luck and know you are not alone nor the only one who feels as you do.
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    Thank you for the reply, I keep applying everyday and I really hope to get a job soon. I'm going to try St. John's Wort and Valerian root, hopefully they will get me at least through interviews to get the job, and let's see what happens next. It's somehow relieving to know there are other nurses with my condition that practice their career, and it gives me hope. Thank you again!
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    I don't have social anxiety per se, but I do have a lot of generalized anxiety related to my bipolar illness and get extremely nervous in certain situations. I do OK in small groups, and am a lector at my church; but talking one-on-one in interviews or on the phone can be very difficult for me, and sometimes I'll just freeze up and be unable to think of what I need to say.

    I guess I've learned to finesse it somehow, because on the surface I rarely seem awkward to other people; perhaps this is the case with you as well---you may present yourself much better than you think you do. And if you're having trouble getting interviews, well, that could just be that nobody's hiring right now. HOWEVER---please think about getting into a low-cost mental health clinic or even your PCP. It doesn't mean you're "crazy", but you do need help with this crippling anxiety, and maybe even therapy and/or medications to help you get over the worst of it.

    I feel bad for you. Please get help, there's no shame in it. You can do this!
  6. 2
    I can be shy around people. Not exactly social anxiety. But, I know what it's like to feel alone in a crowd. I was VERY nervous after graduation because I knew I needed more practice with hands on skills. This made me feel like I didn't learn anything. Plus, I had always been home with the kids so I didn't have any real professional experience either. Here's what I did to overcome this:

    1) I did an assessment of my abilities on paper- strengths and weaknesses, even non-nursing related- like computer skills or working office equipment.

    2) Then, I thought of ways to develop my skills and 'round myself out' as a worker.

    3) I continued to take classes at the tech school in business comm etc and computer skills so more biology-whatever I thought I needed.

    4) I keep up my nursing knowledge by studying and watching how to videos on YouTube

    5) I volunteered in the community- I found a free clinic that took me under their wing. They let me do vitals and health history on patients. I observed the doctors and the clinical environment- the followed leads offered by the staff- and I built references I could list when it came time to apply for jobs.

    6) I branched out in my interest in nursing- psych, school nurse, LTC, clinics

    7) I read about different fields of nusing here on Allnurses.com

    When I hadn't found a job and was getting low in self-esteem, I took a trip with my kids to Orlando (to see my parents). We went to Universal and I engaged in 'Rollercoaster therapy'- yes, I rode to my hearts content, ran around in the thunderstorm weather, completely soaked my white outfit until it was see through- yep- felt like a kid for awhile again- and you know, it broke the spell. When I got back to town and had to face my demons, things looked a whole lot brighter!

    Keep your chin up! Keep generating leads. Every effort counts. Only look at the positives. Build yourself up! It's okay to be quiet. It makes you sensitive and pay attention to your patient's needs.

    Best of luck!
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    I feel for you because I also have social anxiety. I'm extremely awkward around professors and doctors. I have the worst phone anxiety. I stutter too when I'm nervous. The problem with anxiety is that its a perpetual cycle; the only way to break the cycle is to face your fears. So much easier said than done! You owe it to yourself to see a therapist asap! It can change your whole life. Please find someone to help you through this. If you ever just need someone to talk to, message me. I live in Miami also. God bless!
    blessedbutdepressed likes this.
  8. 0
    I think a lot of nursing is acting, putting on a facade.
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    Thank you for the reply, you are right that every effort counts, maybe I need to be more focused on my goals than on the people around me, which are the cause of my anxiety.
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    Only us, people with social anxiety, can really understand what it feels like. Thank you for the reply!
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    I don't have social anxiety but I am diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and I'm very awkward around others. I go to CBT with a psychologist and I also see a psychiatrist for medication evaluations. I'm prescribed Xanax but it works too well on me- like I start to fall asleep- and that's on the smallest dose PRN for anxiety attacks so my psychiatrist has put me on beta-blockers and it is awesome! I still feel anxious, but never to the point that I use to (it felt like a freaking heart attack). Maybe talk to you PCP or find a psychiatrist and psychologist to help you!

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