The Power of Introvert Nurses
Why introverts make outstanding nurses
Psychology Today reports that introverts prefer spending time alone, are drained by lots of social interactions, and prefer to focus on just one task at a time. Nursing is a high-stress and high-stimulation job. It requires constant multi-tasking and social interactions with patients, with their families, and with the rest of the team. On the face of it, it may seem like introverts won’t be happy as nurses.
However, introverts make wonderful nurses. It will require more social interaction than other jobs often recommended for introverts, like a computer programmer, but introverted nurses can excel as part of a healthcare team. In fact, these nurses do so well because of the things that make introverts wonderful employees in the first place. So, what makes introverts such great nurses?
Introverts want meaningful work
Introverts draw power from their inner world, which means they want a job that aligns with their core beliefs and principles. More than extroverts, introverts need work that they believe is meaningful. Nursing is demanding work, but it is also truly consequential. Nurses make life-saving decisions every day and support people during some of the most difficult times of their lives. A nurse may go home exhausted, but he also knows that his work made a difference.
Introvert nurses are great listeners
While extroverts excel at communicating, introverts make great listeners. Listening well gives patients the space to express their needs and concerns. Periods of silence, which might be awkward at a cocktail party, are actually therapeutic in the hospital. They give patients space to talk and, the more you listen to the patient, the better the quality of care you can provide. Patients want to feel heard.
Introverts are problem solvers
In an interview with Reader’s Digest, Laurie Helgo, author of Introvert Power explained that brain scans reveal something interesting about introverts’ brains. They show “a flurry of activity in the frontal cortex, the command center for complex mental activities.” Helgo explains that this means introvert brains are busy taking in information and solving problems. This is a great characteristic for nurses, who are constantly being presented with problems to solve.
Introvert nurses observe
Introverts make great observers. They are keenly aware of the feeling of others and able to read between the lines. They also prefer to monitor a situation to make sure they have all the information they need before they act. This means that introverted nurses excel at quiet observation and they excel at spotting the telltale signs of a medical crisis in advance. Good observation is the key to diagnosis.
Introverts can focus on the task at hand
Introverts are less attracted to social distractions than extroverts. Introvert brains are stimulated by solitary activities, while an extrovert’s brain lights up in response to external world events. This means that introvert brains are wired to get certain kinds of tasks done efficiently, like ensuring patients are appropriately prepared for their diagnostic procedures. It’s a stellar quality for a nurse to have.
Not all nurses need to work at a hospital
Maybe you’re an introvert drawn to healthcare but think that the frenetic pace of a hospital would just be too overwhelming. Or maybe you are an introverted nurse who has decided that the hospital setting just isn’t working for you. You still can do a lot of other things with your B.S.N. For instance, nurses who receive some additional schooling, can work as a medical coder, a quiet and independent job. There are also other roles inside the hospital. Nurse midwives build caring relationships fewer patients, which can be more fulfilling and less draining.
Practicing self-care as an introvert nurse
It can be exhausting to talk to people all day for your job and then go home only to have more demands made on your time. The absolute best thing you can do for yourself as a professional and as an introvert is to practice selfcare. That means spending time alone to recharge, nurturing your close relationships, and setting clear, healthy boundaries at work. Keep your mind and body healthy and you’ll thrive, in or out of the hospital.
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