Communication Skills

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I know that in order to be a nurse you have to have pretty good communication skills, my problem is that I don't. I was actually diagnosed with social anxiety a year or so ago, but have not had any treatment for it. I really want to be a nurse despite the fact that people terrify me. I know I have to get over this fear, because there's a LOT of interaction with lots of different types of people in this career. I want to ask someone for help, I just don't know where to start. I'm also afraid of people telling me that even attempting to go into Nursing is a stupid idea, since it's obvious before you start how much of a social job it is. I don't want or NEED any discouragement from anyone else, because I give enough of it to myself. Any ideas of what I can do? Therapy is obviously the most obvious solution, I just have never been too successful at that, and I also can't really afford it at the moment. If any can recommend any self-activities I can try, or books/websites I can go to for support, I would really appreciate it. Has anyone overcome anything like this before? I'm kind of doubtful that I ever will, and I'm scared it will keep me from even completing Nursing School. I'm a nervous wreck lately worrying about this!



26 Posts

Edmund J. Bourne: Anxiety and Phobia Workbook is a really good book... try it! I've got something they call a generalized anxiety disorder (I've never been diagnosed though) which means I'm afraid of things like losing control, not being perfect, falling seriously ill... but I'm still going into nursing! It's all about doing the things you're afraid of, conquering that fear. Don't let anyone discourage you. I did 6 months of therapy which really helped me deal with this problem and made me understand myself better.

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho.

So what's stopping you from seeing your family doctor about the social anxiety disorder. It isnt that uncommon and is treatable with medication. You dont necissarily have to go into therapy to overcome it. I think i would start at my family MD.

My B/I/L has it and he refuses to see the doctor for medication, the older he gets the worse his gets.


260 Posts

Thanks for the book suggestion Ada! I will try it. meownsmile, I told my doctor about my anxieties and he told me that I had to see a therapist before he would prescribe any medication. Believe me, I would much rather just be handed the medicine to deal with it then go to therapy, but I've already attempted that route and my doctor won't do it. Perhaps I will break down and try therapy again...


355 Posts

I did the therapy and the meds. I was really bad about 3 years ago, and did break down and saw my dr. I had struggled with it for quite some time thinking that I could deal with it myself. What a difference the meds and therapy made for me... they helped me to believe that I could do school and really become a nurse.

Don't put it off... go for cognitive/behavioral therapy. That's where you talk about it, but also have 'homework' to work on so that you can see that you can overcome your anxieties. The homework isn't painful... I felt really good about me by the time I was done. I went off meds after a year, but realized that I did still need them and continue to take them and am fine.

It is worth pushing your dr for what you need. Is there someone else who you might see that would prescribe meds? I needed the meds to be able to face my fears through the therapy.

Good luck!

nurse2be in ny

332 Posts

Community mental health centers usually provide services (including a psychiatrist, who can prescribe meds) at more affordable rates. Their numbers should be listed in your phone book, under "mental health" or something similar.


713 Posts

why are you against therapy?


777 Posts

I have social anxiety as well, but ill get over it once i get real involved in the job.

Most ppl have some form of SA but its just not leting it get out of control thats important :)


532 Posts

I suffered from clinical depression and anxiety for years. I described it to my mother once as feeling like there was a long dark tunnel between me and the rest of the world. The fear and anxiety kept me from doing some many things I really wanted to do.

Many people have some fear of new people and new situations, but they don't understand the paralyzing fear that a true clinical phobia produces. There is a huge difference, but often only someone who has experienced it can truly understand.

I found a combination of therapy and drugs to be the best treatment option. The most important thing in therapy is finding a therapist you "click" with. Therapy really isn't effective unless you develop a positive, trusting relationship with the counselor. That may be the reason why you weren't successful with therapy in the past.

I am a completely different person than I was ten years ago. I can feel comfortable in situations that would have terrified me. I have confidence in myself, something that was sorely lacking back then. You can overcome anxiety and open your world to all sorts of new experiences.

There are many really good books about social anxiety. If you go to Amazon and search under social phobia, you will get a list of 50 or so books. Look for the ones with lots of stars. You can order them used for a lot less.

Please give therapy one more try and have your doctor find a drug that really works for you. You can overcome this and I'm sure you will make an outstanding nurse!


260 Posts

Thank you so much everyone for your replies!

FutureNurse2005 (2005 is when I graduate too! :) ), you asked why I am so against therapy. About a year and a half ago I was struggling with depression and other problems, I jumped from therapist to therapist because of insurance reasons, and because I could not find one that I liked. I found them all to be rude/not caring. I think that if I'm ever able to find someone I can actually connect with, my feelings on therapy will change.


1,250 Posts

Just a word of warning about using public health clinics. Their records are open for background checks and when the employer asks "have you every been treated for mental health problems" and you have been to a public clinic, it will show up. Private is really the best way to go if you can.

nurse2be in ny

332 Posts

Originally posted by essarge

Just a word of warning about using public health clinics. Their records are open for background checks and when the employer asks "have you every been treated for mental health problems" and you have been to a public clinic, it will show up. Private is really the best way to go if you can.

In my experience, the community mental health centers follow confidentiality rules the same as everybody else. How does it show up to an employer?

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