Am I too Quiet for Nursing???


Hi, I am a current new grad off for orientation for about a month now and I am being constantly told I am too quiet. Even my manger mentioned it to me and said I was quiet and she can not figure me out or how I am doing. Also, my coworkers and some techs have told me the same thing. I do not know what to do. I can not change how I am overnight and I have always had a quiet personality. I do open up and become more comfortable with people when I get to know them better. I just hate hearing this same comment over and over again and sometimes I just feel like maybe nursing is not for me. It has been a stressful couple of weeks because I am trying to adjust working by myself and I also feel like I have not develop my critical thinking skills yet. Any advice on what to do?? As well as when will I start to feel more comfortable and start to develop better in my critical thinking? Is being quiet a bad thing in nursing?


51 Posts

Specializes in Peds critical care. Has 15 years experience.

Being a quiet personality is fine. Just so long as you communicate necessary info to necessarily people and ask questions when appropriate.

So many women talk TOO MUCH. I feel that can be a bigger hindrance to learning.

Good luck. I'm sure you'll do fine!


468 Posts

I get the same thing all the time. I was similarly really bummed about it, but some people really put it into perspective for me. I personally would not want to be talked at about the weather and all that nonsense several times a day, and I've talked to people that have been pts that are very annoyed by chatty nurses.

Maybe they were trying to make me feel better, but I think that is a valid point, as long as you aren't afraid to speak up when necessary. I talk when there is something to talk about or if the other person is chatty, but otherwise have never gotten the point in pointless conversation.

Do be aware of your body language too. I often get the comment that I look upset. I think it's because of a tendency to press my lips together and sort of pout without meaning to, so I've been working on not doing that and to smile more, even though I feel like I already do quite a bit. I also really love the TED talk by Amy Cuddy (it's on YouTube) about using body language to appear Nd feel more confident. I feel introversion is often misconstrued as a lack of confidence, so it's a good one.


10 Posts

Has 2 years experience.

I got this a lot too and in my case being too quiet = not asking enough questions. This made it hard for the folks I worked with to feel comfortable with my clinical skills and decision making. I really had to step up and ask way more questions and get more feedback even though I felt confident about what I was doing. It was about giving the perception that I knew what I was doing and would ask for help when I didn't.


7 Posts

I totally understand. Unfortunately, what I have learned after 16 years of nursing is that your manager wants all of his/her nurses to have the perfect "Pollyanna" personality (cheerful, upbeat, smiling all the time, a perfect people-person, who handles stressful situations, verbal abuse, and mean patients/families/co-workers with a great big smile on your face). They do not allow for different personalities like they do in other industries. It is not okay to have a personality that is not perfect. It is not fair but that is how it is, especially in the last several years with so much focus on patient/family satisfaction. You can have terrible clinical skills but if you have a great and lovable personality, it's all okay. I have a serious and quiet personality - I tend to not joke around with my patients/families or make idle chit chat. I am calm and seem to exude a laid-back vibe even though I never feel that way! I have been told that I appear calm and in control in codes and stressful situations even when I am panicking inside. I don't like to answer personal questions about myself (are you married?, etc.) from my pts/families. I have had patients/families tell me that they really like my "demeanor" and I have had patients/families complain to my managers that they did not like my demeanor. Unfortunately, nurse managers these days have such little/poor management training and are so focused on satisfaction scores that it is NOT okay for their staff nurses to all have individual personalities. You have to have all of your co-workers and all of your pts/families love you. I wish I could tell you that is okay to have an individual personality...but it just isn't in nursing. My advice to try to change your demeanor at work now rather than wait. It is a process, but try to remember to make yourself smile a LOT! Even for no reason. Just always smile at everyone. This can help make up for a quiet personality. I really hate what nursing has gradually become over the last decade. It is all about service with a smile. And when I say "service" I mean whatever the patient/family wants, not what is good for them or what needs to be done for them, or the nursing care that you are supposed to be providing for them.