Extroverts and introverts can be very different types of people. As a nursing student, you will be exposed to quite a few people who exhibit traits of both types.
Extroverts are usually outgoing and find it very easy to communicate with others. This is an important skill to have when you're a nurse, especially when you work as a team. However, if you are more of an introvert, there's nothing to hold you back from becoming a nurse!
How Introverts Benefit the Nursing Profession
- Highly observant — Introverts are known for appearing to being “in their own heads” quite a lot, but they tend to pick up on things that more extroverted people to not notice right away. This ability is a great one to have as a nurse because you may notice slight changes in your patients’ condition before others may. You may be quicker to connect the dots to understand how your patient’s treatment and/or environment is having an effect on their condition.
- Good listeners — Since introverts are not much for being big talkers, but they are usually great listeners. Combined with their skills of observation, this makes them excellent at understanding body language. As a nurse, this skill can help you take in and process the information you receive from patients and their family members. This is a plus when communicating with both.
- Soft-spoken — Your quiet presence can put people at ease during a stressful situation. When patients and family members feel at ease, it helps everyone feel more comfortable and promotes excellent patient care.
- Depth over breadth — As an introvert, you are likely to prefer deep conversations to small talk. This preference helps in building rapport with patients and their families that will put them at ease. You are likely to express interest in your patients’ long-term health history and their individual care needs.
- Able to read people — Introverts possess a higher level of intuitiveness than most over people have. They are able to take what they have been told and often read between the lines of what is not being said. This allows you to know how to manage dealing with different personalities or stressful situations that you may encounter during the course of your day.
Tips on Succeeding as a Nurse and Introvert
During your nursing studies, you will learn how to communicate with patients, which will help make it less intimidating for you to talk to patients. There are steps you can take that can help you succeed as an introverted nurse:
- Take time to recharge. Even if you can only eek out a five-minute break during your shift, take it to replenish your energy. Too much social interaction can be draining to an introvert, and a few minutes of quiet can allow you to get your bearings back and get back to business.
- Step outside of your comfort zone occasionally. You have nothing to lose by taking a risk now and then by trying to interact more with the people you work with. You may find out that you are more like your fellow colleagues than you previously thought.
- Make the first move. Yes, this can be scary but sometimes, but sometimes you just need to break the ice when you're dealing with a patient. It may be possible they are an introvert just like you and need a prompt from you.
- There is nothing wrong with being an introvert. You may be surprised to hear that many famous people — including Lady Gaga, J.K. Rowling and Julia Roberts — are all introverts. Being an introvert should not stop you from achieving your goals and being successful in your career.
As an introvert, you do have many qualities that are important in the nursing profession. By being aware of your limitations and embracing your strengths, you can excel in your nursing career!
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