Are you an introvert? An introvert is someone who, for the most part, prefers their own company to anyone else’s. That doesn’t mean they don’t have any friends or aren’t able to interact with the wider world, but it does mean that they are more comfortable by themselves.
You might think that an introvert couldn’t possibly be a good nurse in that case. After all, a nurse’s main job is to interact with many different people in many different ways.
However, the truth is that introverts can be just as good nurses as extroverts or people who find they fall somewhere in the middle of the two personality types. Read on to find out more about how you can certainly be a nurse if you’re an introvert.
Nurses need to talk to their patients, but they also need to be able to listen to what is said back to them. The same goes when talking to colleagues or anyone else they might come across in the course of their job.
When you are an introvert, talking is difficult, but listening is often much easier, so use this trait to your advantage; turn it into a strength that makes patients happy to talk through their issues with you.
If they know you are truly listening, they will talk more, and you’ll learn more; this could help speed up their diagnosis or recovery, for example.
Sometimes in nursing, words are not required. They can’t really do anything, and they often override what a patient is trying to say or get across. This is why being an introvert and being a nurse can be a good thing; if you listen more and talk less, you’ll get to the heart of the matter much more quickly, and patients will be grateful for that.
Make Sure You Recharge
If you’re an introvert, you’ll know that being around other people can be exhausting, and by the time you get home after your shift, you will probably just want to be alone to gather your thoughts and rest your mind and body.
However, although this is important, what if you have a family at home who needs you? What if you are studying for Baylor University’s distance ABSN program and need to be focused? If you need to be ‘on’ when you get home just like you are at work, then taking some time out in your shift to recharge is vital.
In fact, even if you could go home and have some much-needed time to yourself, taking breaks at work is still important. It will help you, which means you can help more people.
You don’t have to have long breaks (although taking your lunch and other breaks when you can is crucial anyway); you could just take a couple of minutes here and there to re-set yourself. Go to the bathroom and sit still for a moment, or take a longer walk to get somewhere (as long as you don’t need to be there in a hurry). Just a few minutes here and there when you can make you feel much better.
Your need to be alone as an introvert is not a bad thing; it’s just how you are. So, just as with your ability to listen more than talk, use this part of your personality to help your patients more.
The fact is that although nurses do work together in a team and that teamwork is vital for helping your patients in many cases, nurses also have a lot of lone working. They must think for themselves and carry out work that is required, and often that can mean they are by themselves with the patient doing what they need to do.
Although at times you will be called to work in a team, the fact is that you can enjoy your work by yourself for a lot of the time as well.
This will give you a chance to recharge – which we’ve said is so important and shouldn’t be forgotten – so that when a group situation is required, you can do what is required of you, speak up when necessary, and do a job you can be proud of.
Something that might be more difficult for introverts to do is to take risks and get outside of their comfort zone. However, if you want to be a nurse and, ideally, a great nurse who rises through the levels of nursing to reach a point in their career they are happy with, this is something you will need to do more of.
Therefore, there will be times when you need to stretch yourself. Perhaps this involves being part of a group discussion or putting ideas forward when diagnosing a patient. It might even be taking the leadership role in some situations.
When you do this more and more, you’ll gain a lot of confidence, and you’ll become much more at ease with every aspect of nursing. Not only will taking these risks to improve your career and help your patients more, but it will assist you in many other areas of your life, too – the more confident you are, the more you’ll know you can do when you need to do it.
Perhaps it sounds strange, maybe it even sounds a little condescending, but the more you smile, even when you’re in a situation that is difficult for you because you are an introvert, the better you will feel.
Just because you prefer your own company, this does not necessarily mean that you have to be miserable when you are with others, but if you are feeling concerned or anxious, trying smiling.
Even a fake smile will fool your brain into thinking you are happy, and it will release the relevant hormones to keep that mood going. In other words, the more you smile, the happier you will feel, and the happier you feel, the more you’ll enjoy your work as a nurse.
Not only will smiling help you, but it will help your patients and colleagues too. Smiling is infectious, and although, as a nurse, infections are usually something to stay away from, when it comes to something like this, it’s a good thing. Smile, and other people will smile, and when you see other people smile, you’ll smile more. In that way, you’ll feel so much better.