social anxiety

  1. Can someone who has social anxiety become a RN? I feel sometimes I do. And looking at all the classes for Nursing is making me a little nervous. I am 31 a single mom and just started back to school taking pre req's and should be able to start program fall of 2006. But why am i panicking already? I do fine interacting with people, but just the thought of people watching me(when doing clinicals) makes me a little anxious. I am a little shy, but I know I would be capable of being a great nurse, but am a little nervous.... maybe feeling like I can't do this. Is that a normal feeling? I know it's not a good attitude to have. Please give me some advise. Sometimes I may just worry too much. :imbar
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    About brandy119

    Joined: Dec '04; Posts: 37

    21 Comments

  3. by   Da Monk
    I would suggest you see a psychiatrist to get a definitive diagnosis for your anxiety problem. There are numerous medications that can be used to treat anxiety. Zoloft is an SSRI used to treat social phobia, if that's what you have. On the face of it, something like a social phobia should not be a hinderance to becoming a nurse, providing you get treatment.
  4. by   nursemike
    Quote from brandy119
    Can someone who has social anxiety become a RN? I feel sometimes I do. And looking at all the classes for Nursing is making me a little nervous. I am 31 a single mom and just started back to school taking pre req's and should be able to start program fall of 2006. But why am i panicking already? I do fine interacting with people, but just the thought of people watching me(when doing clinicals) makes me a little anxious. I am a little shy, but I know I would be capable of being a great nurse, but am a little nervous.... maybe feeling like I can't do this. Is that a normal feeling? I know it's not a good attitude to have. Please give me some advise. Sometimes I may just worry too much. :imbar
    Very normal, up to a point. You are taking on a challenge, probably in front of strangers, and it can be very stressful.
    I feel comfortable assuring you that making a bed with your instructor watching will give you sweaty palms. It's worse when you start doing things you haven't done all your life. You will have to overcome shyness. But it most assuredly can be done. I had a patient for clinicals who was waiting for Dr to visit, then going home. I "got" to do her discharge teaching, then had time to complete almost my whole assessment, except that I hadn't checked her wound, yet. Patient dressed, ready to go home, still no Doc. So, finally, I asked--very politely--to see her wound. From her mastectomy. She was great--very matter-of-fact and quite generous. But how I did that without crying or fainting is still a mystery to me. Asking, I mean. The wound itself was just another incision, healing nicely.
    I recommend getting your feet wet easily when you begin classes. Take stuff you know you can do well at. Not easy, necessarily, but the sort of things that can give you confidence. Also, you can talk to the school counsellor about ways to manage stress and anxiety. Also, get in a study group. It's a great aid for studying, but even better for venting and mutual support.
  5. by   nursemike
    P.S. If you are comfortable interacting with people in most situations, I doubt you have a disorder. There are plenty of times when fairly severe anxiety is justified, like if a bear is chasing you. If you find you're anxiety is holding you back, you might need professional help, but if you didn't have a little anxiety, now and then, it would probably mean you were being way too conservative.

    Good luck!
  6. by   stbernardclub
    But to answer your question, YES, a person with social anxiety can become anything they want to be. There are many forms of relaxation techniques you can try, many books on it and if you really need medication, meds like paxil have helped many people with this condition. Good Luck...
  7. by   saskrn
    Quote from brandy119
    Can someone who has social anxiety become a RN? I feel sometimes I do. And looking at all the classes for Nursing is making me a little nervous. I am 31 a single mom and just started back to school taking pre req's and should be able to start program fall of 2006. But why am i panicking already? I do fine interacting with people, but just the thought of people watching me(when doing clinicals) makes me a little anxious. I am a little shy, but I know I would be capable of being a great nurse, but am a little nervous.... maybe feeling like I can't do this. Is that a normal feeling? I know it's not a good attitude to have. Please give me some advise. Sometimes I may just worry too much. :imbar
    Been there, done that, still doing that to some extent. My problem started after nursing school, for no apparent reason. There has been some pretty rough times where I was almost at the point of panic attacks. I tried Paxil, Imipramine and Zoloft, but none of them worked. I had very gross nightmares with Imipramine (initially thought it was depression), went through hell getting off the Paxil (shakes, diaphoretic, irritability, etc). The Zoloft was pretty friendly but not overly effective.

    I found that the only way I could overcome this was to be very secure in my environment, in particular my work environment. I would certainly try to get the issue under control prior to school. I think nurses need to be confident and assertive to be effective for their patients.

    Please, speak with your doctor. Take care of yourself. You deserve to be happy.
  8. by   GingerSue
    Perhaps it's partly because of viewing the whole thing, instead of viewing the program as a step-by-step process. Develop ways to keep the program organized and manageable as you study and prepare. There will of course be times when you are being watched, and this is the time to learn - accept postive or negative criticism with maturity. Good luck!
  9. by   AngieSC
    Brandy,
    I have/had social anxiety. I was shy as a child and even young adult...not wanting to be noticed in any way. When I went back to college to become a teacher at 24 I noticed that I felt funny around people. Then I started having panic attacks during student teaching. It became so awful that I finally couldn't stand to go to faculty meetings on Wednesdays. I would start to become sick at my stomach on Sundays just thinking about going to work. It was awful and debilitating. I finally dragged myself into the Dr. after seeing a Paxil commercial. It took about a year and a half to get myself feeling "right." I actually take Paxil...I feel lucky that to have gotten help.

    I am contemplating going back to school to be a nurse. I am still shy around people I do not know. I still like to sit in the back of our huge church. I still like to be on the end aisle in most situations. I wish someone had told me that the way I felt was not forever and could be worked through.

    I think you should take charge of this situation and go to a doctor. He/she will be able to help you. I think it will be a challenge, but I think that it is worth trying. I feel like I am always going to be challenged with social anxiety, but I am going to stay the course!

    Sorry this is so long!
    Angie
  10. by   fallonrn
    having social anxiety is not enough to becoming an RN you need something more like bi-polar disorder and a man that is a total bum so you can enjoy the total co-dependency thing. You also need to cry every three or four hours at work each day and be completely stressed at every little problem and if you argue with a male co-worker even though you started the argument you must be willing to let him know that he is threatening/intimidating you and complain to management about it. Then and only then will you be ready to become an RN.
  11. by   SarasotaRN2b
    [font=Comic Sans MS]Excellent suggestion, GingerSue! I know that I have felt anxious at times, but it is true that if you just take each task as it is needed, it can be done. I have to believe that the instructors want you to succeed. It only looks better for them if you do. Another suggestion would be that once you are in the nursing program, take advantage of their open lab times. A friend of mine who just finished her first semester told me that out of 50+ students in her class, there was a group of about 7 students that used the lab at every available period and six of these people went on to pass. The 7th was having problems in all areas and hadn't.
    [font=Comic Sans MS]
    [font=Comic Sans MS]Remember the saying "one day at a time?" Just take "one step at a time." It'll get to the point that step will take you to the stage of your graduation.
    [font=Comic Sans MS]
    [font=Comic Sans MS]Take care,
    [font=Comic Sans MS]Kris


    Quote from GingerSue
    Perhaps it's partly because of viewing the whole thing, instead of viewing the program as a step-by-step process. Develop ways to keep the program organized and manageable as you study and prepare. There will of course be times when you are being watched, and this is the time to learn - accept postive or negative criticism with maturity. Good luck!
  12. by   lorri_clayton@mac.co
    Quote from brandy119
    Can someone who has social anxiety become a RN? I feel sometimes I do. And looking at all the classes for Nursing is making me a little nervous. I am 31 a single mom and just started back to school taking pre req's and should be able to start program fall of 2006. But why am i panicking already? I do fine interacting with people, but just the thought of people watching me(when doing clinicals) makes me a little anxious. I am a little shy, but I know I would be capable of being a great nurse, but am a little nervous.... maybe feeling like I can't do this. Is that a normal feeling? I know it's not a good attitude to have. Please give me some advise. Sometimes I may just worry too much. :imbar
    Yes someone who is shy :imbar and feels a little panicky can get through pre-reqs, nursing courses and clinicals. And you will DEFINITELY go onto being a GREAT nurse. Being nervous only means that you are consciencious of your technique in performing the procedure correctly. This means you are probably a stickler for details which is a MUST in nursing!

    I was a single mom too, it took a few years but I have graduated with my BSN, am loving nursing and now am working on my MSN! YOU CAN DO IT!!! Your kids will admire you for becoming their role model in life on how to complete a goal (mine have),:kiss and your patients will love your nursing care as you learn. Then dance a jig for joy with your ADN
  13. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    Quote from Da Monk
    I would suggest you see a psychiatrist to get a definitive diagnosis for your anxiety problem. There are numerous medications that can be used to treat anxiety. Zoloft is an SSRI used to treat social phobia, if that's what you have. On the face of it, something like a social phobia should not be a hinderance to becoming a nurse, providing you get treatment.
    OP would be better off consulting a counselor or psychotherapist. Medication for a behavioral problem is like surgery for a medical problem. Overkill, and it doesn't address the root issue.

    Anxiety is a behavioral response. The approach is two fold. Discover the source and deal with that so it becomes managed (instead of run from, terrified) and learn strategies for gaining control of anxious behaviors.

    Very common problem, very easily dealt with behaviorally. Not with meds. (And a psychiatrist is a medication dispensing machine.)

    Good luck.
  14. by   brandy119
    Quote from lorri_clayton@mac.co
    Yes someone who is shy :imbar and feels a little panicky can get through pre-reqs, nursing courses and clinicals. And you will DEFINITELY go onto being a GREAT nurse. Being nervous only means that you are consciencious of your technique in performing the procedure correctly. This means you are probably a stickler for details which is a MUST in nursing!

    I was a single mom too, it took a few years but I have graduated with my BSN, am loving nursing and now am working on my MSN! YOU CAN DO IT!!! Your kids will admire you for becoming their role model in life on how to complete a goal (mine have),:kiss and your patients will love your nursing care as you learn. Then dance a jig for joy with your ADN
    Thank you so much for the encouragement. I am so happy I found this website. Everyone is so nice. I hope I can do it with my 2 boys. I do have awhile and I will take one step at a time. That is wonderful you are going for your MSN. I know it is going to be very hard but I will be determined, I want a career and I will do it for my children. Right now I am living paycheck to paycheck. I guess I make ok money, but I just am getting tired of sitting at a computer all day, and don't see myself going farther with company. Just sometimes I feel I am reaching to high, (I was out of school for along time), at first I was thinking of medical billing then jumped to NUrsing, a degree. Well I wish you luck. How old were your children when you went to nursing school???

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