Social Anxiety as a male in Nursing School


I had the idea to do Nursing a couple years ago when I was a freshman in college but I always let my Social Anxiety when giving presentations get the best of me and didn't want to face it so i settled with a degree in criminal justice, but after not wanting to pursue this field anymore i decided to continue with nursing school, I have taken Anatomy and physiology over this summer and have gotten a 4.0 GPA in both courses, I really enjoyed the material, I currently work as a bank teller and it has helped with my anxiety and I go out regularly and have no problem talking to anyone, but when it comes time to do a presentation or speak up in front of a class it is the worst thing in the world for me, and i'm not some homely looking guy either... my PC has prescribed me with lexapro but im not sure if its working... is anyone else like this or does it go away, any tips, should i ask for beta blockers?


32 Posts

I have what I call performance anxiety. I'm definitely introverted but I can manage social interactions just fine. It's giving a speech, or skills day, or speaking at post conference in clinical when I was in school, or check offs in school that were almost impossible for me. I went to my doctor and got propranolol for those occasions. It can be used off label for performance anxiety. Just took a small dose and it saved my butt. Might be something for you to consider.


1,698 Posts

Dude I get the same anxiety as you for group presentations. Public speaking is my biggest heart about jumps out my chest in front of the class.

Eventually I just decided that brief discomfort was worth the trade off for a professional RN title and career. I just take a deep breath and do it.

Sometimes people can tell I'm nervous but who cares. I go to school with another girl who ditches class if we have to present, she has it worse than I do.

I have to keep my grades high so I suffer through it. In the end I feel like it was worth it. Makes you stretch and grow in a good way!

Specializes in Education.

This is where the fine art of looking without seeing comes into play. Slowly scan the tops of people's heads and they'll think that you're looking at them. Have a classmate that isn't in your group to stare at...and have them make funny faces while you're talking.

I had my lucky shirt. No lie, I'd wear that sucker and it was like a two way mirror. I could see out, but nobody could see in.

loriangel14, RN

6,931 Posts

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

You won't fail nursing because you aren't a fabulous public speaker. Many in my class were terrified but it didn't stop them from becoming nurses.

jadelpn, LPN, EMT-B

51 Articles; 4,800 Posts

I am a total and complete extrovert. LOVE social situations, gatherings, can walk into a room full of strangers and are completely comfortable.

I can write an amazing presentation. I have so many ideas that I love to put on paper. I love lively debate and relish on thinking about all of the ideas that come from a single idea.

But please, please don't make me say it out loud in front of people. I get very choked up, I get very stuttery, I get very nervous.

I am the power point queen!! When the lights are down and the power point is up, I can just read....and make a few little comments here and there. No power point available? That's ok.....I am the princess of the handout. Then you hit the highlights, encourage others to debate the topic at hand....and it all takes on a life of its own with very little input from you.

In the thought process of getting people talking about real life issues, I always chose an ethical dilemma/debate. That way, the rules are clear from the get-go (we all have opinions, but we have to respect that other's opinions can differ from our own) and what an interesting class filled with information!! Also, I was always a big case study person. Again, makes the class participate so that you are not just up there blah, blah, blah ing.

Best wishes, you can do this, and by the way....nice work on the 4.0 with A&P!!!! That is a feat in itself!

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Fear of public speaking is NOT "social anxiety". I recall many psych references listing it as the one of the most common ''natural' human fears -- right up there with fear of falling, fear of loud noises, etc. So - if you get twitchy about presentations, it's natural and normal. Not a disorder that needs medication or therapy. The best solution is just to do it... the more you do it, the more comfortable you will become.

Actually, according to John Dewey the ability to make presentations is one of the most common 'incidental' outcomes of a traditional, university-based education. I have had more than a couple of CEO-types tell me that the reason that they want to hire someone with a graduate education for a particular position (any type of grad degree) is that it means that they can develop and deliver presentations. IMHO, This is one of the most significant disadvantages of online educational programs .. . but I digress.

Specializes in Emergency. Has 21 years experience.

I gave hundreds of presentations in my 1st career, with audience sizes ranging from 1 to >1,000, business, consumer and government (local state, fed & foreign), high school students to ceo's & ambassadors.

Bigger audiences are easier, less personal, you break the room into quadrants, pick 1 person in each quadrant and present to each moving in a counter-clockwise rotation. This gives the impression that you are addressing each individual in the room. Small audiences are trickier as you will feel more in the spotlight. The key is knowing your material and practice.

Acting in junior high and high school, along with debating experience in college also helped.

My former company used to have people join toastmasters as a way to develop public speaking skills. The folks I knew who did that had nothing but good things to say about the experience.


38 Posts

Wow I am amazed at the responses I have gotten everyone here is extremely friendly and shared their own stories, so thankful for this place! this is why i picked a job where i interact with people to get used to the situation its helped a lot but can always get better and I have to agree the title of having R.N. is worth more than any fear of public speaking. once again appreciate the great responses just makes me want it even more!