The introverted nurse

  1. Hello,

    I'm a nursing student. i just had my clinical eval and my prof focused almost the entire session on how quiet I was, how I need to be more assertive in clinicals, talk in class more, and be confident - have more of a presence so I can be a better advocate. He says he knows I have a lot of knowledge and insight but I need to show it to everyone. I said, but I always let my nurses know when there are issues with my patient and I ask them questions often. He said that's not it, I need to present myself as more assertive, confident. I'm sick of everyone in my life telling me how quiet I am. I feel like they are telling me something mean, like I'm fat or ugly, because obviously they don't see it as a positive attribute. Not to mention the eval revolved around accurate documentation, organization too but we never went over that stuff because all he could focus on was my quiet attribute.

    The funny thing is, I know I'm quiet but i like people. I love talking to people one on one which is why I went into nursing, so I could have patients! I've been a waitress off and on most of working life so it's not like I am absolute wallflower. I articulate myself well in presentations. But I'm not bubbly or outgoing especially not in a group setting which apparently seems to be a "needed" attribute as a nurse. I need to portray myself a certain way like some acting gig. Ugh, why can't an introvert have a break in this world???
  2. Visit esunada profile page

    About esunada

    Joined: Sep '09; Posts: 165; Likes: 93


  3. by   AgentBeast
    Yeah it's unfortunate but you do need to be kind of an outgoing type of person to really get **** done. Not that you can't get by as an introvert, but you still need to present yourself to patients and staff members as being confident.
    Last edit by AgentBeast on May 17, '11
  4. by   tiroka03
    If it's your nature to be quiet, thats not a deficit. I think loud, always talking people to be annoying. But, I believe we need both types, loud and quiet. You will find your patients don't want so much to hear about you, but to tell you about them. Being quiet is an asset.
  5. by   skittlebear
    It is okay to be introverted. In fact, I have met a lot of very good introverted nurses. Does that make you an incompetent nurse? No. You will learn when you need to come out of your shell and speak up for your patients when you need to. Sometimes, it's even better to be "quite". It can keep you out of trouble. Don't feel insecure about your personality. Yes, even quite nurses are good nurses. Just don't let it get in the way of taking care of your patients.
  6. by   Nurse_Diane
    I'm very introverted. I prefer one-on-one contact.

    I do home hospice nursing. It's the perfect job for me
  7. by   Sonjailana
    Your patients will tell you that you're a calming presence. The last thing they want is someone with another 'presence' to be dealing with. As long as you are able to communicate when it's needed, I don't think it should be a problem. You probably have good listening skills.

    However, your coworkers might not be so kind. You might see all their chatter as wasting time, but honestly, it's how people get ahead. The more popular people will be promoted and notice by your manager. So do take time and be friendly as much as you can and chit-chat from time to time.
  8. by   Dazglue
    Sounds like you're describing me. One of my teachers told me the same thing. He said I was quiet around him (that's another story) However, all my patients love me and I have never had a complaint.
  9. by   PalmTreeRN
    I know exactly what you are talking about! Actually I've followed this site for a few years and this is the first time I've ever replied to a post! I am also an introvert. I also HATE when people comment on how quite I am. I'm not quite all the time, but I am shy and have mild anxiety. When I first decided to go into nursing I worried about how my introvert personality would effect my ability to be a good nurse. Before getting my RN I did some work as a nurse's aide, ER tech, and home health aide. This type of work really improved my confidence in going into nursing. Every patient I encountered took a strong liking to me and I was constantly being told that "I was going to be an amazing nurse". It was almost shocking how often I was given this compliment. Why did so many take a liking to me? I really believe it had to do with one of the positive characteristics of being an introvert: I LISTENED to people. Patients can sense when a person is truly listening and a lot of times it gives them comfort.
    I am going to say, you do need to learn how to speak up (or atleast I did). In the beginning I was intimidated by other nurses and doctors. But when it comes to your patient you have to be able to address issues and good communication is a must. And I honestly found this part of nursing to be somewhat empowering as an introvert. I realized it wasn't about me or my "introvertedness"...its about whats best for the patient and for me I had to go outside of my comfort zone and really speak my mind at times, for the good of the patient. I think introverts can be great nurses! But you have to understand that you will have to push yourself at times and you will be better for it.
    Also a great book I recommend "The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World". Being a person who hated being referred to as quite and shy...this book really helped me realize how our type of personality can be a gift rather than curse! Good Luck!
  10. by   CarolinaGirl1112
    You can be introverted and still be a good nurse.

    You can be fat and still be a good nurse.

    You can be ugly and still be a good nurse.

    In fact, I'm pretty sure somewhere there is an introverted, fat, ugly nurse making a world of difference in a patient's life.

    Keep your chin up, as long as you know your stuff you should be fine.
  11. by   Flo.
    We have a very introverted nurse on my floor and she was nurse of the year for the whole hospital! She is a great pt advocate. When she speaks up about a pt concern everyone listens. So you can be a great nurse and an introvert.
  12. by   NurseSerafina
    If I were a patient I think I would be most happy with an introverted nurse. I have many introverted friends in my nursing program with personalities similar to what you describe. Once we start talking one on one they are not introverted at all - but wonderful listeners all the same. If I were ever a charge nurse or manager I would take special note of the introverts. Very often you all are hiding some very rare gems.

    As for me, I am one those outgoing introverts. I love talking to people and being involved in a work setting but I am very shy and anxious in social settings. I feel that I "come alive" in the hospital. But I wouldn't want to come too alive... Sometimes the outgoing young nurses can come across as obnoxious while the quiet and calm ones really put people's minds at ease. People probably feel very safe in your hands.

    One last note, don't let one person's criticisms get you down. Not everyone is able to understand that people are different from themselves and that introverts have just as much if not more to offer.
  13. by   Brea LPN
    My instructor in school told me the same thing. It's like people want you to change your entire personality from a quiet person to a talkative person, and I don't think that's possible. If I don't feel like talking, I'm not going to. I'll talk when I have something to say. But, I actually talk a lot to friends and patients as well. I interact well with my patients and coworkers and voice my opinion when needed and that's what matters.
    Last edit by Brea LPN on May 17, '11
  14. by   TheCommuter
    I sometimes think that my personality and temperament are not compatible with nursing, although I generally get along well with my patients and family members.

    People tend to describe me as quiet. I'm detail-oriented, task-oriented, and usually prepare a "to do" list before the start of each shift. I am very introverted and do not enjoy passing the breeze with small talk. I prefer discussing topics that are academic, worldly, or intellectually stimulating to me. However, I will engage in small chatter if it makes the patient or visitor feel more at ease. I am very serious, occasionally uptight, lack a sense of humor, and I do not smile much because my smiles frequently come across as fake. I'll be the first person to admit that my interpersonal skills need plenty of polishing.

    I am definitely not a charmer. My best friend, who is also a nurse, knows how to charm people by telling them what they want to hear, flattering them with phony compliments, telling them little fibs and lies that will make them feel good about themselves, and generally "playing the game" to be viewed favorably by others. However, I cannot bring myself to the point of kissing another person's butt just to get that person to think fondly of me.

    I'm outwardly calm, thoughtful, mellow, and very non-confrontational. Confrontation disturbs me greatly. I prefer one-on-one interaction versus mingling in a large group of people. I also prefer night shifts due to having less people around.