Some of the best nurses in the world have certain characteristics in common. Tops on the list are empathy and attention to detail. What does not often make the list of must-have nursing traits? Introversion.
Does that mean introverted nurses are not amazing at their jobs? Quite the contrary. Introverts often are the best nurse leaders because of their ability to excel at mentoring while developing and empowering others.
Can an introverted person be a nurse?
Introverted people have valuable skills and abilities that can translate well to the nursing profession. While extroverts are known for being outgoing and may have an easier time communicating with other people, introverted nurses bring some of the following admirable and useful talents to the mix:
1. They are good listeners.
Communicating is about more than being able to talk to someone. The best communicators in the world understand the value and role of being a good listener. Introverts may find it a bit more difficult to express themselves, but they are top-notch audiophiles. Why is this important for nursing? Actively listening to patients helps build trust, which is paramount to delivering quality care.
2. They have keen observation skills
When monitoring a patient’s progress, being highly observant is a distinct advantage. Introvert nurses may be more likely to notice slight changes in a patient’s condition that others may miss. They also may be more skilled at “connecting the dots” when a patient’s environment or prescribed treatments are not working well.
3. They are good at reading between the lines
Introverts are believed to be more intuitive than extroverts, which is a handy skill to have when communicating with patients. It can help in developing rapport with patients and their families, which leads to a more trusting relationship. When patients have confidence in their nurses it leads to better care.
Tips for succeeding as an introvert nurse
Nursing is an exhausting profession at times. Long shifts and nursing shortages can make for a stressful environment. While this can be taxing for any nurse, it is especially nerve-wracking for introverts. Here are some things you can do to help ease the burden while maximizing your natural skills and abilities.
- Recharge your batteries. Even if that means sneaking in a five-minute break during a long shift, do it. Replenishing your energy and taking time to recenter yourself is a crucial component of delivering quality care. Introverts and extroverts respond to dopamine differently. Whereas an extrovert buzzes with good vibes with increased dopamine levels, introverts can become overstimulated. Introverts recharge by spending time alone. It does not mean they do not like or value others. It is simply the way their minds work.
- Take some risks now and again. This means stepping outside your comfort zone and forcing yourself to interact. A great way to ease into this practice is by engaging in professional development opportunities. Both in-person and online continuing education programs offer classes in communication that introvert nurses may find useful in developing the ability to stick their heads out of their proverbial shells once in a while.
- Start the conversation. Take a few deep breaths and stop panicking over the possibility of saying the wrong thing. Something as simple as introducing yourself to your patient and then segueing into general questions to assist in their care is a great way to start. Then, allow them the opportunity to engage and continue the conversation.
The bottom line on introvert nurses
There is no reason to “fake it until you make it” when you are an introverted nurse. Follow these helpful tips and you will be soaring to nurse stardom levels in no time.
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