I lack social skills and confidence. Is nursing a possibility for me? - page 3

I have long wanted to get into the medical field as I have always been interested in Biology and Chemistry. However, due to the lack of jobs/wages for those degrees and the need to choose a... Read More

  1. by   softrbreeze
    You will gain more confidence as you go. Frankly, I am horrible at small talk and it shows but as long as conversation has a POINT to it, I'm fine. You may find that medication can help you get started. I've been diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder myself and was on Paxil years ago which helped some. The great thing about nursing is that there are so many different venues. You can find a job as a desk/computer nurse, telephone nurse, task-oriented nurse (wounds, IV therapy, etc) to put small talk at a minimum. You HAVE to give yourself constant pep talks ("If they can do it, so can I") or you will go stark-raving crazy. Time heals all wounds though as long as you are moving in the right direction. Your relationship with your mother IS your wound and you may very well have to put some distance, physical and otherwise, between you to allow healing to take place or else she will simply keep picking the scab off and you will never get anywhere.
  2. by   sugarmagnolia3
    Don't rule out nursing yet:

    My advice would be, to focus on gaining a sense of self-worth, whether that's from therapy, learning new internal dialogue, or doing some community service to realize you have something to give, no matter who you are. Nursing in it self, can help with your self worth, but your sense of self-worth should not come from your job only, it needs to come from within! I'm not a huge small-talker either, but I do know how to kindly greet people, smile with eye contact, and make myself available. Nursing is often mostly about listening, and sometimes you don't need to say anything other, than a sincere "I'm sorry you're going through this" and "Let me know if I can do anything for you."
  3. by   sugarmagnolia3
    Don't rule out nursing yet:

    My advice would be, to focus on gaining a sense of self-worth, whether that's from therapy and healing your childhood wounds, learning new internal dialogue, or doing some community service to realize you have something to give, no matter who you are. Nursing in it self, can help with your self worth, but your sense of self-worth should not come from your job only, it needs to come from within! I'm not a huge small-talker either, but I do know how to kindly greet people, smile with eye contact, and make myself available. Nursing is often mostly about listening, and sometimes you don't need to say anything other, than a sincere "I'm sorry you're going through this" and "Let me know if I can do anything for you."
  4. by   spacecheetah
    I have problems with anxiety too but they are not "crippling" (anymore) and if they were I wouldn't be pursuing nursing school.

    My anxiety is more internally focused though (health anxiety/hypochondria) and I have it well under control. I don't have the social or self-confidence issues you have. Even still it was enough to keep me from pursuing nursing for five (count 'em 5) years because I was not ready, my anxiety was not controlled. I did the research and realized that even people who are mentally healthy become anxious (including hypochondriac) in nursing school and beyond. I knew it wasn't smart for me to start the program until I was mentally ready.

    I think you have to be brutally honest with yourself about what you are capable of doing, and get yourself in a healthy head space before you pursue this. It would suck to sabotage yourself and make it that much harder to get into a program later when you ARE ready.

    Nursing aside, you need to get these problems under control for your overall quality of life. Trust me, life can be very different and so much better. And no, it doesn't always require medication but sometimes it does. I don't take any myself but you need to see a professional if you're not already.

    Best of luck to you.
  5. by   RNsRWe
    I'm going to toss out this bit of commentary, because I think the OP is missing something vital in this process: you are 27, yet you blame your mother for your current anxiety and self-confidence issues. Ok, we get it, mothers can be a real B--- sometimes, and not everyone has a great one.

    But here's the Newsflash of the Day: nursing school administrators don't care what your mother was like, they only care what YOU are like. They don't want to hear--frankly, couldn't possibly care less--how overbearing she was, or how small you feel because of that criticism. They can fill their seats a dozen times over with people who are NOT blaming their Mommies for what is wrong with them today.

    Harsh? I like to think a reality check is in order when someone tells me she's 27 years of age and is STILL letting the fact that she had an overbearing mother cause her to fail in life. Your mother won't be your downfall....YOU will be, if you don't get some professional help and get this under control. You say you don't need counseling, and I think your posts SCREAM "I need counseling".

    That isn't said to be mean. It's said as someone who is observing your situation ONLY from what you've chosen to present. And your statements tell me you are nowhere near ready for nursing school, as you haven't resolved the very issues that make you feel inferior. That, and the whole "butt-wiping" thing you need to get past--- or get over the idea of ever going into nursing. It ain't like it is on TV!
  6. by   amzyRN
    I encourage you to be more accepting of yourself as you are and not reinforce your notions about yourself as you are reinforcing the negative. I have found that self acceptance and not judging myself has enabled me to be more flexible. I have also found, being more of an introvert myself, that nursing has helped me become more social. In fact that is one of the reasons I went into nursing was to challenge myself to grow socially to be able to have more human interaction. I have also found that wiping butts, barf, and poop are not as bad as I though they would be. Nursing does involve some of that at least in the beginning (at the very least in nursing school). It is a humbling experience that I believe builds character, but that's just my opinion. Maybe try to shadow a nurse and see what they do.
  7. by   MissM.RN
    OP, I echo what a previous poster said: I think it might be time to get your anxiety under control. That doesn't mean you couldn't be a great nurse though! It sounds like you are smart and have some insight. Nursing needs smart, humble people. On the other hand, I will offer that you're going to have to "wipe butts" and that is a hugely important part of nursing. Good skin care and pressure ulcer prevention is essential. I have cared for patients who became septic from infected ulcers, and sadly one of them died. Perhaps being a pharmacist would be more up your alley. Less direct care, still beneficial patient care. Good luck to you! I'm sure everything will work out for you in the end.
    Last edit by MissM.RN on Apr 7, '15 : Reason: typo
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Academically, you may do well, but nursing is much more than academics.


    I suggest you take some speech classes or join Toastmasters to get the fear of talking in front of others under control. Maybe some counseling to deal with your self-esteem issues.

    You WILL need a backbone, strength and social skills if you want to be a nurse, that much is for sure; being an excellent communicator is an absolute must.......

    I wish you luck.
  9. by   Anna Flaxis
    Quote from FlyingScot
    I may be feeling a little intolerant but doesn't anyone else find the phrase "wiping butt" or "wiping a--" completely offensive? I don't wipe butts, I clean my incontinent patients. I just find the phrase "wiping butts" sort of dehumanizing. They're people not body parts!
    I agree. I prefer "cleaning people who have incontinence".
  10. by   OriolesMagic
    I think I was a lot like you when I started nursing school. I had severe, disabling anxiety and lack of confidence, in part from failure in a previous career. I was ok at talking to a patient one on one, but if a patient had family in the room, it would give me a near nervous breakdown. I overcame my problems by working at making small talk and also medication. You definitely should be on anxiety meds.

    I'm sure you have the intelligence and ability to be a nurse, but you need to be sure that's what you really want to do. Why not do some volunteer work in healthcare and see if working with patients is something you really want to do before taking 4 years of your life to get a BSN and hate it. Wiping butts is part of any bedside nursing job, but its usually a fairly small part unless the patient has severe diarrhea. I worked 1 year as a CNA on a dementia unit while in school, and I wiped more butts in that 1 year than I have in 7 years as an RN. I also learned dementia= incontinence.
  11. by   strawberryluv
    Nursing is a lot more than small talk. Anxiety comes from inexperience and being out of your comfort zone. With time, things get better. I had anxiety too in clinical but with time I have become less nervous and more focused. It takes time.

    I'm introverted and have a mother who was overbearing and verbally assault me my whole life but that's not going to stop
    me from pursuing this great career!
    Btw, I'm graduating this May.

    You can do this.
  12. by   NurseGirl525
    I'm going to assume that you are a man due to the profile pic and that you said you are extremely small at 5'4". I'm a woman and 5'1" and many of my classmates are short like me. 5'4" is not small for a woman.

    Here is my input and you can take it or leave it. First, you will be doing peri care on adults your whole career if you choose to be a RN. Also ADLs are very important especially in a hospital setting. You will be seeing very sick people. People on fall precautions, seizure precautions. People who need help. That's kind of part of being a nurse. If you can't do that, nursing is not for you.

    As far as your personality goes, you seem very set in accepting who you are and not wanting to change it. Being introverted is not a problem being a nurse. Crippling anxiety is. Some people are very shy. But I know people who are shy and have overcome it. One of my best friends in nursing school is very shy and anxious. I am a huge extrovert. I often just say what I'm thinking, which is something that I am working on myself because that can be a really bad thing sometimes. So me and this extremely shy girl started talking and studying together. She eventually would call me and ask for my opinion on things. The more we have talked, the more she is coming out of her shell. Now, she is still pretty introverted and has shyness. But it is something she is working on. We are working together to be better people to be able to work with patients better and give better patient care. Her and I balance each other out and work well together. Just don't be set on the fact you can't things about yourself. But it's up to you to change and not anyone else. Stop blaming your mother and work on yourself. It's never too late.
  13. by   futurepsychrn
    I don't understand. I believe "chitchat" as you call it is a necessary part of nursing. It's called "Therapeutic Communication". I'm not even a nurse yet and I understand that! Talking to patients, family, etc. may help you identify a problem you were unaware of.

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