Shy introverts can be great at nursing!

  1. When I first started out in nursing I was completely intimidated by all the communication that went on during the day with doctors, consults, other nurses... I had so much anxiety and questioned whether this career was the right choice for me. Once I went from days to nights things took on a whole new light. I choose whether I want to be social or stay to myself and I don't feel the pressure I felt during the day shift to "find something to say". Has anyone else had this experience? Has night shift been an answer to others with the problem shy people have with overstimulation?
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    About RNBuni

    Joined: Oct '11; Posts: 3; Likes: 2

    13 Comments

  3. by   TU RN
    It varies from person to person. I think nursing will inevitably force introverts out of their shell a little bit no matter what shift you work. Not sure how much experience you have, but I think in this past year I've been confusing "introversion" with basic adjusting to the job, workplace, staff, policies, et cetera. You can also get trapped on night shift because it's traditionally one of the harder shifts to staff. That's my situation right now as there is a waiting list for going to day shift. For me, night shift is starting to have a major impact on my personal and social life - so while this might have been my experience initially, it is now no longer worth the sacrifice.
  4. by   SoldierNurse22
    I enjoy nights. I'm very definitely an introvert and a natural night owl. It's difficult for me to tell what motivates my love for nights more: my introversion or my admittedly strange sleep schedule. However, I have no issue staying up all night--even on my nights off--and finding ways to entertain myself.

    If nights are your niche, then kudos and welcome to the (literal) dark side. It's a tough shift to staff consistently, and no one likes a grouchy nurse.
  5. by   mo16
    I am the same way! My body constantly fights with me to stay awake at night, so night shift is perfect for me. I'm not an introvert per se but I am very focused on my work so night shift also helps me stay focused on my patient without the extra distractions from day shift!
  6. by   TheCommuter
    I'm raising my hand. . .night shift was my salvation. I am not a people person, so night shift greatly helps to minimize the number of interactions with which I must contend.

    I am a hardcore introvert who does not enjoy getting to know new people or mingling, even though I will put on my game face for patients and their family members. Moreover, I am not the type of nurse who desires validation or yearns to 'be needed' by other people.

    Those who know me say I am quiet. I am not shy, but I'm quiet and have a strong dislike of small chit chat. When I have conversations, I prefer to discuss substantive topics. I'm extremely task-oriented and regularly devise a ‘to do’ list at the start of each shift.

    Mindless small talk greatly vexes me, but I will engage in this type of communication with overly chatty patients and family members. I am somewhat serious and lack a sense of humor to the point that I take many jokes literally. I have a restricted affect and I do not smile a great deal because my grins seem phony and forced.

    It took a few years of working as a nurse to discover that my interpersonal skills were undeveloped and that I wasn't a people person. I seriously lacked self-awareness at one point, but night shift helps me cope with the extroverted world in which we live.
  7. by   pmabraham
    Good day:

    As an introvert (myers-briggs INFJ) who can be shy under stress, I appreciate this thread as I continue the journey to become a nurse. I also had to smile over the issue of small talk and not getting jokes. We are not alone.

    Thank you.
  8. by   nurseprnRN
    Here's my best input for introverts. The speaker isn't really me --I am not Susan Cain, she's a lawyer-- but she is me, right down to the books at summer camp.

    Susan Cain: The power of introverts | Talk Video | TED.com
  9. by   VAC
    Yes, introverts can become highly skilled nurses, and can be effective communicators, however, in my experience recently management and administration are so focused on patient and family satisfaction that a quiet personality can be a disadvantage. At my last job they pulled me into the office and told me I have a poker face, I don't smile enough, and that I needed to be more like my more outgoing co-workers. I was working night shift. I have had patients appreciate that I am quiet, and tell me I'm soothing. I like to create a restful, quiet atmosphere especially for post op patients. Long story shorter I am no longer working there. I've been on several job interviews, again the focus is on the survey scores, which factor into reimbursement. It's all about the money.
  10. by   danggirl
    Was so happy to see this thread! My entire life I have been extremely shy and what I call a "social moron". In school I think I was so exhausted from working full time that I didn't have the time or energy to even think about being anxious but once I graduated, I really wondered if i would be able to handle all the social interactions. But, a really funny thing happened...it's like Superwoman: the minute I put on my scrubs, I become a completely different person...to the point that I've had coworkers outside of the work environment comment about it. Once dressed, my confidence shoots through the roof. I can talk to anyone, anywhere, about anything with absolutely no nerves whatsoever! I even went from a med-surg floor to the ED and also into some travel positions...something my painfully shy "real" self felt nauseous even thinking about! But, in my personal life it eventually started spilling over though nowhere near the level at work. I worked second shift when I first started nursing so I'm sure that helped me ease into it but over the years I've covered all the shifts. Each shift seems to have advantages though because on days, even though there are more people around...there are more people around to sort of dilute the amount of interactions. Nights there are fewer interactions but you are pretty much on your own with them. Thanks!
  11. by   barachi
    Yes I know a unit coordinator who is accually very quiet I work with her kids and I hear she tries to be loud but fails miserably. just like me. But yes indeed quiet shy types can make it to the top! I alway hear my clinical instructors tell me I need to be more aggressive bc you will be a door mat. In a way they are right but not exactly.
  12. by   barachi
    I.remember I had to tell a nurse something I was just standing there waiting for him and the other nurse to stop talking about stuff that didnt involve work. So I just had to step right up and interrupt in a rude way. It deffinitly was not something I would do. I totally stepped out of my comfort zone. They knew I was there waiting for them to finish but kept blabbing. So I went on ahead and said his name like I ment business.. and he didnt take it as if I was being annoying he accually thanked me for helping him out that day. Nursing school/nursing will bring the person you never knew existed right out.
  13. by   klone
    I'm not shy but I am an introvert. I don't really know how to do "chit chat" and I don't really see value in small talk. To me, it's just talking for the sake of making noise.

    But I am comfortable in public speaking if I have to impart information, and my patients and colleagues view me as warm, friendly and compassionate.
  14. by   anewsns
    Hmm that's really good that you love
    night shift a lot better, it's really hard to hold your own in these loud environments, even for some extroverts including myself.. I personally hate all the noise!! I was thinking about investing in these partial earplugs with little tubes in them so I can only hear what's right next to me.. And I hate coming from my relaxing house to a group of people who have been at it all day with the talking. Anyways , I'm rambling but you do need the collaboration to be a rounded nurse I think..tricky balance of being happy and talking to mobs of people. We have this really sweet young nurse where I work who is really quiet but everyone loves her. Works days. She does not talk over our craziness but now can hold her own and get the message across, just a random story.

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