Do you think someone with panic disorder/ anxiety/ shyness could be a nurse?


This is my first time posting on this site, I hope I am doing it right ahh!

Anyways I currently just work at a kids creche living pay check to pay check and nursing has always been something I have thought of doing. And people have told me I would make a good nurse because I'm caring and friendly, and one of my mums friends even went to say once that I have a super calming presence. Anyway not to sound self obsessed but I think I could be a good nurse because of that and I want to be a nurse for those reasons.

However I do have generalised anxiety and panic disorder. And in turn get super flustered at times. I am a people person in the sense I am friendly but I'm also shy and introverted. And because of these reasons I am filled with so much doubt that I should pursue nursing.

1) I am scared me getting flustered could cause me to make an error that could cost a life as sometimes it is hard for me to calm down and focus.

2) As I am an introvert I am scared of burnout and resenting everyone/ my job.

3) Off topic I get wheezy very easily. (My dad had a keyhole surgery recently and as we were watching the dressing being taken off I had to leave the room as my vision blurred and I heard ringing) If I cant handle that how am I gonna handle wounds etc???

Anyway I guess the point of all this rambling is to see if anyone else has had similar obstacles but has been able to pursue a career in nursing?

Also one other question (total props to you if you have all of read this), in Australia we have Enrolled Nurses and RN (I think in America Enrolled nurses are called LPN's? Correct me if I'm wrong). Anyways do Enrolled nurses have a lot less responsibility/ stress in their day to day jobs as they can't administer medications? Maybe that would be a better option for me?

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

142 Articles; 9,982 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 26 years experience.

LPNs administer meds all the time here in the US. And depending on what state they work in, they may do IV insertions and meds, be charge nurses in a long-term care facility, and basically do most of what an RN does. They don't get the credit or the pay of an RN, and they usually don't work in hospitals anymore as those facilities hire mostly RN-BSNs.

To answer your question, people who suffer from anxiety disorders not only can but do become nurses. I have bipolar and anxiety and I practiced for 17 years despite these illnesses. It wasn't easy, but it was rewarding, and I wish I could still do it but I have so many physical problems now that I can't. (I'm also pushing 60, so I'm old too.) I would highly recommend getting a handle on your anxiety/panic by finding a well-qualified mental health professional who can offer you therapy and/or medication as indicated. It would be good to get to the bottom of *why* you're anxious.

Good luck to you in your endeavors. And welcome to Allnurses!

Ella26, BSN, RN

426 Posts

Specializes in Allergy and Immunology. Has 6 years experience.

I have anxiety/panic attacks, I agree with the above poster. Find a great mental health provider and get it under control.

Choose a lower stress unit/specialty. I know myself and know that ER/ICU was a definite no-no. Heck, I don't even like the hospital. I work in the clinic and it's best for my anxiety.

It can be done. Good luck out there.


901 Posts

Specializes in public health, women's health, reproductive health.

It can be done but I'm not going to tell you it will be easy. As a person with a tendency toward anxiety and worry, my first year of nursing was more than just hard. It was brutal. I had to do a lot of work on managing my anxiety, worry and bolstering my self-confidence. I also moved into an area of nursing that utilizes my natural strengths as a nurse and puts me in an environment that is well suited to me. I am doing well and I am very happy as a nurse now, but I continue to be self-aware and do the work to manage my anxiety level before it becomes a problem. So yes, it can be done if you are consistent with working on yourself, seeking help when you need it and being proactive. Best wishes!


1,753 Posts

Specializes in Surgical, quality,management. Has 12 years experience.

1) it is rare as a nurse to be working completely alone. There are always other nurses and or doctors around to help.

2) self care is the best way to prevent burnout

3) think about why you got woozy was it the wounds or because they were your dad's wounds.

All EENs are 5 routes endorsed that go througb the new diploma program so there is less chance of you finding a job where you don't give meds unless you have sucess in finding a very niche role in an area such as day surgery admissions.

EENs are often used in aged care as a cost saving measure and have to administer medication for up to 30 residents in a nursing home and be directly supervising AINs / PCAs with one RNon site for maybe over 100 residents.

Think about doing you PCA / AIN course and see how you handle the situation before investing time and money in a nursing diploma or degree.

I employ EENs as well as RNs on an acute ward and there is very little difference in thier scope on a day to day basis except for things like blood products transfusion IV narcotics and requiring an RN to be their supervisor as they work under the direction of an RN.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

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Silverdragon102, BSN

1 Article; 39,477 Posts

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC. Has 35 years experience.

Moved to the Nursing In Australia forum


4 Posts

Has 1 years experience.

I started out my nursing education with an eating disorder, and general anxiety. I actually didn't even realize I had anxiety until my 3rd year! My program pushed me out of my comfort zone and I learned how to deal and accept my challenges. Definitely not easy. I almost walked out on one of my clinical days because I was so overwhelmed, but I stuck through that day and decided I needed to find better help. Eventually I found this fabulous therapist and I learned how to get a handle on my anxiety (I use the acceptance and commitment therapy approach).

Nursing gave me a reason, passion and purpose. My patients were my motivation to push through all the struggles and setbacks. I think that nursing could definitely be that reason for you as well. Caring for others and connecting and being there for people in their time of need is soo damn rewarding and worth it.

In Canada we have LPN's as well, and they are able to administer medications, and do patient care. They have just as much responsibility, and similar patient loads on low risk units. However, they are not allowed to work in high risk speciality areas such as Labor and Delivery, NICU, Critical care, Emerg. I have heard the difference comes in the critical thinking aspect. They are also paid less. I feel that having the 2 years of extra learning is better because I feel more prepared in taking care of my patients, but everyone is different.

Also nursing is so vast, there is definitely a place for all personality types. If you don't like the hospital setting you can always do community and work in clinics. Mental health nursing is becoming big as well. There are just so many options. I personally found my place in labor and delivery and travel nursing.

There is alot of introducing yourself, talking to patients and their family members, giving handovers and oral presentations while studying so I had to get over my shyness quick.

Anxiety can be a struggle as you tend to worry about committing mistakes, deal with things like death so working on ways to overcome anxiety will be a huge help.