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Socially anxious nursing student

Students   (719 Views | 4 Replies)

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Hi all, I'm a shy, socially anxious nursing student in my mid-twenties about to start my second year and am dreading it. I have had one clinical placement already which was really difficult for me; I dreaded it and felt really incompetent and stupid, terrified of taking any responsibility or talking to patients, and afraid that people would notice my discomfort. Nonetheless I tried my best to make a sincere effort but feel so vulnerable and incompetent in practice and have no confidence whatsoever, despite the fact that my theoretical grades are very good. The clinical teacher told me I need to stop being shy, however there is not an on-off switch! I am seeing a mental health professional and working on CBT but not sure it'll be sufficient.

I have wanted to be a nurse for most of my life and held off because I didn't think I would be able to handle the responsibility. I absolutely LOVE the theoretical component, however I am starting to doubt my clinical ability. My second placement is coming up in about six weeks and I am honestly doubting if I will get through it or whether I was stupid for ever trying.

So I am wondering whether anyone here can relate to this experience and has any suggestions? Or perhaps if there is anyone going through something similar that would like to keep in contact to discuss our successes and trials?

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Apple-Core has 1 years experience as a ASN, BSN, RN.

1 Follower; 1,013 Posts; 6,169 Profile Views

What I personally would pull from this is where you see your strengths..."I absolutely LOVE the theoretical component"....could you consider teaching nursing? Or working in some capacity as an educator, researcher, medical writer?

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direw0lf has <1 years experience as a BSN.

1,047 Posts; 11,030 Profile Views

Nursing school is really a journey imo. You won't be the same person as you were on freshman orientation day as you will be standing there at graduation in your cap and gown. You're going to learn and grow and change, if you stick with it. It's kind of like immersion therapy than CBT :up:. That's how many mental health professionals prefer to treat phobias and social anxiety, with immersion therapy. Anyway I was nervous and shy, but I told myself that no one is really even paying attention to me, at least not as much for me to be shy about. Eventually I forgot about how I was shy and insecure and the more experience with patients I had the more my bedside manner evolved to become naturally confident, not just a forced "pretend to be confident". I know this doesn't seem to help you for now, but maybe it will give you some hope that it's possible you can outgrow your shyness a little each time you have a patient encounter.

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maggie0 is a ADN, RN and specializes in Psychiatric nursing.

63 Posts; 1,361 Profile Views

Like Direwolf I am also a formerly shy person. I was *excruciatingly* quiet and so anxious I would literally shake when talking to strangers. Now I'm in my forties and will talk to anyone about anything, sometimes too much--the change happened partly because of my work (teaching), partly because of therapy, and partly because I made a very conscious decision to focus on the other person. Just grab anything you know or can see about him or her and ask about it--in a friendly, light way: How was your trip? Are your kids done with school? Is the coffee in the lounge any good?. Are you doing anything fun this weekend?

This worked well for me, because I hate being the center of attention and want to put the attention on someone else right away!

At first, these boring little comments are all you need to break the silence and show that you're friendly. Once you get more confident, you'll find it easy to keep talking and having really nice conversations. Remember: most people (NOT ME) love talking about themselves. Let them!

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shibaowner has 1 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP.

3 Articles; 583 Posts; 8,766 Profile Views

When I was in my BSN program, the clinical instructors kept telling me I was too nervous, and just kept making me more nervous! However, I did graduate and then went into an MSN program and had absolutely no nervousness. It is common for nursing students to be anxious. Just get through this. It will get better. If your true love is theory, then consider going into nursing research after you get your BSN. We need more RNs with PhDs who can do research and some teaching.

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