Social Anxiety and nursing school.

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    For as long as I remember I've have social anxiety. I am able to talk to people, but when I am on the spot I shake and blush pretty badly. In a&p last week we had to dissect a banana and my hands were shaking terribly. It was our first day of class but I am getting discouraged. There's nothing more I want to do than be a nurse. I have the grades and intelligence for it and the passion. Is this something I can overcome or should I start thinking about another field?
  2. 7 Comments so far...

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    I think you'll be fine. If its something you want bad enough you'll get through it. It's just nerves and we all get nervous from time to time. Some ppl have weak stomachs during clinicals. This they get rid of with practice. So having a weak stomach won't determine if you're going tobe a good or ad nurse, right?? Same scenario....hang inthere!!
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    You are going to have this problem in almost any field working with other people, not just nursing. Figure out a way you feel comfortable trying to get over it by doing baby steps. Speak up once every class. Then up the challenge to something else when it feels normal. If you have the passion for it you will overcome it. Good luck!
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    I know how you feel. I would suggest working as a CNA and see if that can help you break out of your shell a bit. It did wonders for me. In addition, there are counselors/therapists that could help you, work books, etc. But if you think you could be a good nurse without your anxiety, don't give it up. Nursing school isn't either and neither is social anxiety. It's a lot of work but you get what you put into it.

    Good luck
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    I'm raising my hand because I know exactly how you feel. In class I can often think of something to ask or add to the discussion, but the more I think about it the more nervous I am. My face gets red, my heart beats fast, and my palms sweat, so I usually just keep my mouth shut. And that's just when I think about talking. Most of it stems from me being self-conscious. I have a hard time being me around people outside of my family because I worry that people won't like who I really am or that they'll think I'm insignificant and stupid. I like to think that I'm a strong person, but worrying about others' opinions of me makes me very fragile. I'm sure none of this helps you in any way except to know that you aren't alone. I can only make the choice every day to be brave and to be me, regardless of what I think other people think of me. In time I am sure I will become more confident, as long as I keep practicing.
    PSiLoveHeels likes this.
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    I couldn't possibly relate anymore to your post! I struggle with the same exact problem. I have completed the first semester of my nursing program, and am only a few days away from beginning 2nd semester classes. I too never questioned my intelligence or passion for this field, but my anxiety was something I've always worried about. I struggle have a slight stutter/stammer when I get nervous on top of it all. The truth is, nursing school is no joke. The first semester was a rollercoaster. I had many days where I felt defeated and really pondered about finding a new career path. But I made it through, and I know you can too. The key to my success was learning to fake confidence. I might be a nervous wreck on the inside, but that doesn't mean I have to let everyone know I'm feeling that way. Many days in class I'd want to run and hide because I was dreading the upcoming skills exam, or so nervous I thought I could puke when it came to clinical. But even after just one semester, I'm on my way to mastering the art of faking confidence. I know it sounds silly, but many of my professors have suggested it too.

    In the first few weeks of the semester, I barely spoke to anyone. Of course I was friendly, but never really clicked with anyone. Then it dawned on me.. making friends would probably really help. I ended up clicking with a few girls.. Not to say they're my best friends (yet), but we clicked on different levels and that made a WORLD of difference. I confided in them and became brave enough to speak up and voice my own opinions. Trust me.. it wasn't easy, but I did it. I left semester 1 feeling good and knowing I was one step closer to really getting over my fears. My anxiety will always be with me.. but I'm learning to own it. It keeps me on my toes and definitely keeps me humble. Some clients might appreciate a more softspoken nurse. Many of my classmates are outgoing and (seem) fearless.. but each client is different and some might actually take to you in ways you never imagined. Although anxiety difficult to deal with at times, it isn't always a horrible thing. Good luck! You can do it, I promise! Keep positive and remember to fake your confidence when you can!
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    I am considering nursing and completely relate. I am ok around my friends and people I am comfortable with. However, I tend to get flustered and nervous around ppl until I reach my comfort zone with them. Unfortunately, this is a problem in many fields for ppl like us and was a problem in my previous job so it's not like you can avoid the issue by going into something else. I was anxious everyday I went into work on my previous job. After trying therapy I ended up going on a really low dosage of an antidepressant, which can also be used to treat anxiety. I would say after reaching it's full efficacy, it has helped with about 50% of my anxiety. I am not saying this is the right answer for you. It definitely has side effects as all drugs do so it is not something to be taken lightly. I made sure with the psychiatrist that I went on an antidepressant that has no withdrawal effects if I decide to go off of it (i.e. Don't ever take Xanax or any other benzodiazapene or effexor or Paxil). I do hope at some point to stop taking it and be able to deal with my anxiety naturally as many of you do, but this has really helped me in the interim so depending on the severity of your anxiety, it is something to consider.
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    I have been reading on the allnurses forum for a while and I finally had to make an account on this forum after reading your post. I was diagnosed by my doctor to have social anxiety. First, I would like to encourage you to stick with nursing. Even if you switch majors, you will not be able to escape being in groups with other people.

    What has helped me cope with my social anxiety is to just accept it as being a part of who I am. I have noticed that by doing that I am not as nervous being around people. I liked the book "Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness" by Gillian Butler. She goes into explaining the psychological cycles that take place with social anxiety and and how to correct those cycles. It was interesting to read so you might want to check it out. Also, my doctor prescribed me a medication called propranolol which has worked wonderful for me when I had to give speeches in my communications class. You only take it like a hour or so before your presentation and that's it, you do not take it daily. It eliminates the physical symptoms of social anxiety such as getting a red face, sweating, and the heart pounding out of your chest feeling. I thought it worked wonderful for me. I don't know how I would have passed my speech class without it. Do some research on it for yourself and ask your doctor what he thinks of it for you. By the way, I am against long term medication for social anxiety because it is only masking it. Once you stop taking the medication, your social anxiety will be back. My doctor wanted to prescribe me Paxil but I refuse to take it. Anyways, I just want to encourage you to stay with nursing. The way I try to look at it is that what is the worst that can happen. My face gets red and I feel embarrassed if someone says something about it, but in the long run what does it matter. Two years from now, will I even remember that situation or will I see that person ever again? Most likely not. Walk into class like you own the place and forget what other people think about you. Hopefully at least one thing I have said has helped you. Good luck at school and keep your head up.
    Last edit by tx138 on Jan 19, '13 : Reason: Spelling error


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