Every single person in the world has different personality traits and quirks to the next person. There is no right or wrong way to be, no rhyme or reason for the way that you are. Some people are born introverted, while others are outgoing and stand out for their brashness. Either way, the world of healthcare and medicine is filled to the brim with people of all backgrounds and personality types. Going through the years of study and work that it takes to be a nurse is a big deal, whether you are introverted or a gregarious extrovert, and the one thing that you will learn over those years is that there are a lot of opportunities in nursing. Almost every single personality type can fit in in the nursing world, and so whether you are shy or not, you can still learn to bloom as a nurse and be the type of person who can get involved and get excited without pushing your own boundaries too much.
There are a lot of ways that nurses invest in themselves, and it’s not just about getting additional details about the right scrubs and equipment needed to do their job well. Nursing is a big field to be involved in, with many roles and departments making it pretty much the most diverse career out there. As an introvert, you have a power that most others don’t; you have the ability to allow others to perceive you as extroverted, despite being the complete opposite of this. You can make your own shy personality traits work for you when you’re on the nursing floor and be able to deliver the best nursing care that you can without compromising yourself. So, what tips work for someone in your position, who wants to grow as an introverted nurse?
- Always Listen Closely. Having a shy personality often means that you step back and listen to the world around you rather than get involved in the conversation. Introverts – as you know – will always prefer one to one interaction with people rather than address a large crowd of individuals. It’s one of those things about you that you can use to your own advantage. You are able to listen more to your patients instead of talk, allowing you to be a vessel for their pain and complaints. You can hold deeper conversations that patients will always appreciate from you, as it means that you connect well.
- Rest, Always Rest. Nursing is a heavy job, with long hours and it’s mentally and physically tiring. You need to give yourself a break to recharge. It can make such a difference to take just ten minutes every half shift to breathe and get your head straight before going back out onto a busy nursing floor. It’s draining enough as it is being a nurse and interacting constantly through the day, never mind when it’s the total opposite of your personality.
- Remind Yourself Who Is Boss. You made a conscious choice to go to nursing school and put the time and money into learning an amazing craft. It’s up to you to remember that while you don’t always speak, preferring to listen, this doesn’t mean that you cannot contribute. Einstein, Bill Gates and Lady Gaga are all icons, right? They’re also all introverts. You can shake the world in a gentle way as an introverted nurse, gaining quiet trust from your patients and perfecting your craft.
- Take Risks. As a nurse, you are going to be required to interact, and when you spend most of your time outside work with your head in a book, trying to avoid that interaction, it can be hard. However, a part of your job is to take risks. You’re going to have to interact with both colleagues and patients, whether that’s comfortable or not. When you take the risk to get out of your comfort zone, you can benefit hugely from it with your co-workers and patient feedback.
- Initiate Conversation. It’s not an easy thing to do as a new person on the job, but when you add in being an introvert with it, you can easily panic about having to start a conversation and worrying about saying the wrong thing. The good news? You can ask general questions to patients to just open a line of communication and then let them take the lead thereafter. You will be more sensitive to the feelings of others when you meet them, meaning that if your patient isn’t ready to talk, you’ll pick up on that.
- Smile. Being a confident nurse that is good at their job means being approachable. You may want to spend your time in your head, and that’s okay, but you do need to smile. Having a resting miserable face on means you’re generally thinking, we all get it, but would you want to talk to someone who looks sour at their workplace? No, you wouldn’t feel comfortable about it, either. Be cheerful in your role and you’ll be able to reassure patients in a way that most others wouldn’t be able to.
- Exposure. It’s always hard to break out of your comfort zone of wanting to be alone when you start a new job. There are other people out there in the nursing community who probably feel the same way that you do, and you have to be able to reach out to them and talk to them about the struggles that you all find. Gelling with like-minded people can really help you to realise that being a nurse can gently break you into being with people a lot more and give you the keys that you need to interact more.
You have the power to be therapeutic to your patients with your silence and willingness to listen, and you can also fill the silence if you are prompted in the right way. Don’t be put off from a rewarding and advancing career simply because of being an introvert: it’s your superpower.