Nursing with awkward introverted personality

  1. Anyone else have an awkward personality and work as a nurse? I'm not that awkward but a little bit and I find it hard sometimes to make the small chit chat with patients that really helps to build rapport. I am very kind and gracious but sometimes I don't have that quick remark that can make a patient laugh or smile like many extroverted nurses I see do. I'm not good at it in my personal/social life so it makes sense that I'm not good at professionally. It bothers me some. Social interaction is a lot more work for me and I find it harder to go above and beyond in terms of making a patient comfortable because a lot of what patients remember is their wonderful nurse's personality. I try to make up for it in other ways but much too often I can come off as too serious. I have had many patients say I'm a great nurse but im not confident in my social abilities. What are some ways to improve this and does anyone else have the same problem? I wish I was comfortable enough to go give patients hugs and kisses on the forehead like some nurses do but I don't even do that with my own family. I don't know how much I really need to go against my nature and how much to just accept the nature I have. I find it challenging as a shy person to be a memorable effective nurse but I am going to keep trying because I love being a nurse! Cheers☺️
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from Runnergirl84
    Anyone else have an awkward personality and work as a nurse? I'm not that awkward but a little bit and I find it hard sometimes to make the small chit chat with patients that really helps to build rapport. I am very kind and gracious but sometimes I don't have that quick remark that can make a patient laugh or smile like many extroverted nurses I see do. I'm not good at it in my personal/social life so it makes sense that I'm not good at professionally. It bothers me some. Social interaction is a lot more work for me and I find it harder to go above and beyond in terms of making a patient comfortable because a lot of what patients remember is their wonderful nurse's personality. I try to make up for it in other ways but much too often I can come off as too serious. I have had many patients say I'm a great nurse but im not confident in my social abilities. What are some ways to improve this and does anyone else have the same problem? I wish I was comfortable enough to go give patients hugs and kisses on the forehead like some nurses do but I don't even do that with my own family. I don't know how much I really need to go against my nature and how much to just accept the nature I have. I find it challenging as a shy person to be a memorable effective nurse but I am going to keep trying because I love being a nurse! Cheers☺️
    OK, I'm an introvert. Social chit chat doesn't come easily to me either, and I would never DREAM of hugging or kissing a patient. (EWWWW!)

    You can be a competent nurse without being an extrovert, but you have to work at the social aspects a lot harder. (I'd argue that introverted nurses are paying attention to the details rather than chitchatting, so they might actually be MORE competent.) You may not get the gushing compliments, kudos and Daisy awards (whatever that is) that your more extroverted colleagues bring home, but your paycheck will be the same.

    Accept the nature you have rather than going against it. It was easier to be an introverted nurse in the days before the customer service pendulum swung so crazily far, but you can still be an effective nurse. Pay attention to your patient's interests . . . do they have pictures of grandchildren stuck to the wall, or of their 12 cats? Ask them about the pictures. If you see on their face sheet that they live near you ask if they've lived there long and what about that Whole Foods store coming to town? If you're new to the area, ask about their favorite seafood restaurant. (I'm not kidding -- I found my all time favorite crab cakes on the recommendation of a patient's sister.) Be a good listener and let them talk!

    Pay attention to your workplace relationships, too. Teamwork is essential, so don't make the same mistake I made in my first job. As an introvert, I found starting conversations difficult, so I didn't speak to my colleagues unless I was spoken to. Imagine why none of them liked me! Take time to chat for a moment with everyone you encounter at work. It really makes a difference.
  4. by   Runnergirl84
    I agree! I would never think to kiss a patient on the forehead but I have seen nurses do that in the hospital mostly to elderly ladies when they discharge or when they say goodbye at shift change!! I was shocked when I first saw it because I don't even do that to my own grandma... but I could appreciate the bond that these nurses had with their patient.

    I am talkative to patients and most coworkers and will ask questions of both to get to know them but it's just so exhausting for me. I don't think it shows at all but inside I am so drained after work. Just think about how many people nurses interact with in a given day. So many! I always kind of keep a wall up around me but I wish I didn't. Then at times I'm so relieved that I don't mix work with pleasure and am not socially connected with other nurses on Facebook etc. when I'm off I'm open to talk to really no one but family. I just think it's one aspect of my job that I find extremely difficult. Even after I ask a question to a patient and they answer there's somewhat of an awkward silence after. Sometimes there's nothing worse than awkwardness though some of it just might be me being hard on myself and it wasn't awkward for the patient. I usually am my own worst enemy.

    And its true, I might not be out having a night out with coworkers on my nights off or getting a daisy award but I still want to find ways to be a better coworker as well as finding ways to build rapport with patients. A lot of time I think being quiet can exude not being confident which can make patients and families not as comfortable. So I guess it's a work in progress. Being a nurse has really forced me to interact with the world which has taught me a lot.
  5. by   matcha-cat
    Quote from Runnergirl84
    I am talkative to patients and most coworkers and will ask questions of both to get to know them but it's just so exhausting for me. I don't think it shows at all but inside I am so drained after work. Just think about how many people nurses interact with in a given day. So many! I always kind of keep a wall up around me but I wish I didn't. Then at times I'm so relieved that I don't mix work with pleasure and am not socially connected with other nurses on Facebook etc. when I'm off I'm open to talk to really no one but family. I just think it's one aspect of my job that I find extremely difficult. Even after I ask a question to a patient and they answer there's somewhat of an awkward silence after. Sometimes there's nothing worse than awkwardness though some of it just might be me being hard on myself and it wasn't awkward for the patient. I usually am my own worst enemy.
    Heheh, this is my life, too It sucks. I've always been insanely introverted, like I can go an entire work shift without talking to any of my co-workers or with just giving basic answers to customers (well, when I was working in retail, I'm not working at the moment). I hate talking for the most part. It wears me out, and so does listening. I have a problem with awkward silences, too, and it's mostly because I just don't get how to chit-chat. I have a serious personality, too, so a lot of times people mistake me as snobby or mean, which is the opposite of who I am. I always try to be kind and open towards people, and make sure I have a pleasant tone, but my serious personality and calmness give me "resting b*tch face" and I've been told I look mean and to smile on multiple occasions. On top of it all, by "normal" standards, I'm also weird and get called strange a lot. I guess you could say my communication is functionality-based, meaning that most of the time when I talk, it's to answer questions or to ask questions to help me do my work or because something truly sparked my curiosity.

    I try to overcompensate in other areas by being really polite and smiling when I make eye contact, and of course trying to make sure my voice sounds pleasant. I put in extra energy into doing that. I'm nearing the end of my CNA course, and I think I've come a long way, socially. Small talk is still my downfall, but I've gotten better at the "ping-ponging" of chit-chatting (asking questions about people's lives and quickly reacting with either another question or with emotion. As a kid, a friend yelled at me because I never reacted to her gossip and another person called me Spock lol). I've also gotten a lot better at approaching small conversations casually. I think what's helped me the most is the great environment that I'm in- all of the students in my class are hardworking, kind, and positive, so it's a good place for me to grow.

    So, I still have a long ways to go, but I'm always active in trying to work on my social skills. I don't expect to be someone's "favorite" nurse or have a personality that just makes someone glow but like you, I still want to be the best nurse I can be by also having my patients feel comfortable in my presence, and by having a good relationship with my co-workers.
  6. by   Scarlettz
    I think it gets easier. I am very introverted and even socially awkward but my patients love me still. I think just being nice and polite and having a good attitude goes along way. You don't even have to be bubbly - just care, don't act like patients are burdens, etc. I think sometimes just listening or asking a simple question is enough. Smiling is always a plus. Asking "Do you need anything?" Or simply just thanking a patient or saying "I hope you feel better. It was a pleasure taking care of you."

    What did you do before nursing? I held a retail job for many years before nursing. I actually think it helps me a lot as a nurse- especially since there is a big focus on customer service.

    As far as coworkers go, I think the longer you work there the more comfortable you will be around them. Offer to help a coworker with something if you see they are busy - that will go a long way. Smile and say hello to them. You don't have to be a chatty Cathy, but just being polite will be enough for most people.

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