Too shy and quiet to be a nurse

  1. Lately I have just been down in the dumps, feeling terrible about myself because of how quiet, shy, and introverted I am. I recently started volunteering at a hospital and did my best to hide how shy I really was, but didn't hide it well enough and got assigned to admitting, where I don't do much but sit in a chair my whole shift. They said they needed someone more social to be in the places where you could interact with patients.

    In addition to this, I'm taking an oral communication class this semester. We had our first speech yesterday, and it was really rough for me. I spent hours preparing my speech and forgot to eat all day because of how much anxiety I got thinking about how I was going to give it. I even cried a little and was considering on ditching class.

    I hate how I am like this. I know that good nurses are very interactive with their patients, and I'm starting to think that I'm not cut out for nursing. I wish I was more social, but every time someone points out how shy I am, it just makes me not want to talk even more and feel sorry for myself. I wish I could change and need advise on how I can be less shy.

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    About CMerin

    Joined: Aug '17; Posts: 4


  3. by   thatgirl2478
    can you fake it at all? I mean, can you model your behavior off other people you see as outgoing and just do what they do? frequently this sort of thing is a 'fake it till you make it' situation that can be resolved. you may never be COMFORTABLE around lots of people but you can teach yourself how to be adequate.
  4. by   meanmaryjean
    I would advise getting some counseling. NOT because being shy indicates something is 'wrong' with you (because that is simply not true), but rather because it bothers you so much that it seems to impact your quality of life.
  5. by   turtleki
    I was really timid growing up, so I understand how you are feeling, Look at it from a different angle, how would you want a nurse to interact with you if the tables were turned. If you was in an unfamiliar place or was sick, what human interaction do you desire. You don't have to be a chatty patty but you wan to make others feel comfortable and give them good energy because I'm assuming thats what you would want right?
  6. by   TipsyTurtle
    I am an introvert and talking to strangers was difficult for me for the longest time. But taking a speech class helped and just by talking to strangers on a regular basis really helped build my confidence. Being scared to talk to strangers will hold you back, sometimes you just need to have a "I don't give a crap" mentality and just go for it. Hope you the best of luck!
  7. by   dbird3
    I am an introvert as well. However, I have learned that I must exhibit extrovert tendencies in the workplace (I am a pre-nursing student), so this is true of most work environments. You've received some good suggestions. I watched and learned, and then I practiced. Practice helped make me better at engaging with people and it made it easier to do so. I now enjoy social interaction at work and successfully managed a large group of people prior to launching my new career direction. Time and maturity help as well. Embrace and celebrate who you are but reach out to people as well. I have learned so much about others by talking with them. If you are so anxious about your introversion, then as suggested, reach out for some help. It's OK. I still get nauseous at the thought of a presentation in class, but I get better each time I do it. That, for me, is a victory! Look at what you gain not at what you did wrong. I enjoy interacting now and I know when I go home, I can shut down and enjoy the quiet and refuel for the next day. My life is so much richer for learning how to embrace being an introvert but embracing others and enjoying their company. You will get there. Practice, celebrate the small victories, and don't be so hard on yourself. Take care and my very best wishes as you learn to navigate the extrovert world. You can do this!
  8. by   cravenrn
    I read this and I was like, ugh, the memories. I too am an introvert and nursing school was painful and hard at times. I got so tired of hearing "why are you so quiet?" But I stuck with it and so glad I did. It was hard with the patients too at first, just interacting with them. But I promise the more experienced and confidenced you get, interacting with the patients will be the easiest thing you do. I know how to do my job and am good at it so talking with patients is actually very enjoyable. Hope you stick with it and have much success!
  9. by   chtzu
    My nursing instructor had to walk me into the room and be my partner for the first day of clinical cause I was so nervous. Still makes me laugh until today. I'm very shy and quiet also so I understand. I agree with the poster from above that you have to fake it til you make it. Even practice on your own at home and it'll start to come more natural.
  10. by   CMerin
    Thank you very much for the suggestions everyone. I appreciate it!
    Last edit by CMerin on Feb 22
  11. by   Green Tea, RN
    I guess it depends on where you work, but I think you will not have enough time to sit down and interact with each of your patients if you are a med-surg nurse. I'm an introvert too. I didn't find it disadvantage being an introvert much when I was working on the floor. I think as long as you can communicate things necessary to your patients and coworkers you don't have to worry about anything.
  12. by   Blue_Moon
    It's ok to be shy and introverted. I grew up getting in trouble for not talking louder or being more outgoing. I just felt so awkward doing it. To this day (and this is 25 years later) I still can't talk very loud or my voice cracks. My kids think it's funny. Speech class was sheer torture but by the end of of that class it wasn't quite as hard as the beginning. My face and neck turn red and splotchy anytime I give a presentation and even when I was getting married because I just hate being the center of attention. However, don't worry. You can still be a good nurse. Volunteering is not the same as nursing at all and if you aren't busy enough and feel out of your element it's not going to be comfortable. You just need to be friendly, polite, and act confident. Even when you don't feel confident just pretend. Smile big and say how are you? No one can on the inside you may be a nervous wreck if you don't show it. Then after a while you'll start feeling more confident. Honestly the best way to get more comfortable talking to people is to just do it. Force yourself to talk to people. People are generally friendly. Don't act outgoing if you're not but act interested and caring. Pretend they are your grandpa, grandma, aunt, uncle, mom, dad, sister, whatever. If you don't know what to say to people or talk about just ask them questions about themselves. People like to talk about themselves and like people to listen. Questions like how are you and what brings you in today and then comment with something like you're sorry to hear that or I hope you feel better soon or the dr can figure out how to treat that. Asking people about themselves works in any situation. Also don't be afraid to open up about yourself a little even if it makes you uncomfortable. Tell people you want to be a nurse and you can even admit you're worried you're not outgoing enough. You'll be surprised the number of people who offer you advice. Don't let the few grumpy negative people get you down. I have a tendency to dwell on negative interactions and over think them. Just don't waste your time. People have their own issues that make them that way and if they aren't nice to you it's not your fault. Let it roll off your shoulders. It took me a while but I'm no longer afraid to talk to people I don't know. I'm still not an outgoing person but I have lots of friends and and people tell me how I'm a good nurse because I can stay so calm under pressure. So don't be afraid to go after your dreams but also be willing to grow and I think you'll do fine!
  13. by   Apple-Core
    My heart goes out to you because I can hear your struggle. I'm not shy at all but both my kids are, so I have witnessed first hand just how painful it can be for them. The USA in particular seems to revere outgoing people and somewhat look down on those who are more reserved, at least in my experience. What my oldest did was set herself small goals, such as to raise her hand once in class that day, or speak to someone first, or whatever. It was a struggle for her, but the more she did it the easier it got. A bit like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) that basically encourages exposure to your fears, with the belief that eventually the "over-exposure" will nullify the scare-factor.

    Perhaps you could try something similar? Or consider CBT therapy to help address this issue. I don't think there is anything "wrong" with you at all, but when it starts to impact your life then it is time to take affirmative action!
  14. by   CMerin
    Hey Apple-Core! Thanks a bunch for the response, and I will definitely use that approach!