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Social Skills in Nursing – Introversion and Shyness

being shy and introverted in nursing

As a nurse, you’ll be in a field where talking is encouraged – it’s the nature of the job. It’s not your typical 9-5 office job where many people have limited communication because they are too busy doing technical work on the computer, etc. In the nursing field, you’re always interacting with your co-workers, your manager, and the patients. Social skills in nursing will surely benefit you.

I’m Shy and Introverted… Is Nursing for Me?

Many people who are shy and introverted have a tendency to be much less social than their counterparts – extroverted people who live off of social interaction. Those who are shy question whether or not nursing is the right field.

The quick answer: anyone can be a nurse.

Just because you’re shy doesn’t mean you’ll make a bad nurse. You may even be able to perform your actual job duties better if you aren’t as worried about initiating small talk with everyone. Also, sometimes people would rather not be spoken to – but the safest play is to always remain courteous and at the very least “act” interested in someone’s life. We’ll tell you how this can be easily accomplished.

The Secret Ingredient: Validation

Validation goes a long way. Validation is something we all crave as human beings –it’s at the heart of our existence. In short, validation is simply giving someone attention in any manner. This can be done several ways:

  • Complimenting is a common way to validate someone’s existence.
  • Congratulating someone on an achievement.
  • Giving thanks.
  • Asking how someone’s day is going. (not recommended for patients as if they are in the doctor’s office their day probably isn’t going too well)
  • Simply saying “Hi” or “Good morning”.
  • Actively listening and asking questions is basic validation – can’t go wrong there!

The important takeaway here is that by validating someone, you will quickly see many conversation doors open based on their response. From their response you’ll be able to judge or pick up on whether or not the conversation will develop further. A patient may want to discuss his or her ailments to you and going into detail – listen. A coworker might dive into conversation about his or her plans for the weekend – comment on fun that sounds (you may even get invited!). Your manager might validate you back by commenting on your performance on the job – thank them.

Social Skills is an Ongoing Learning Process

Building social skills is not something we’re magically born with – it’s something that is learned from childhood interaction with families, friends, and others while growing up. You can still remain shy and introverted and develop just enough social skills to become a star nurse!

Trust me on this one and absolutely do not give up simply because you believe your shyness will make you unable to function as a nurse – scrap that mentality and realize that many nurses are introverted just like you!

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