Since the 2012 release of Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts and her subsequent TED Talk on the subject, introverts have been getting more and more attention as strong leaders who can add a great deal of value to organizations, from businesses to healthcare systems. While popular misconceptions might suggest that only extroverts would thrive in the fast-paced, high-contact hospital setting, many characteristics typical of introverts lend themselves well to the nursing profession.
Nurses who happen to lean more heavily towards the introversion side of the continuum have a great deal to offer their patients and colleagues. For example:
- Introverts are highly observant. Often characterized as being “in their own heads,” introverts tend to note subtleties that their more extroverted counterparts might not pick up on right away. In a patient care situation, this could mean that introverted nurses may notice subtle changes in their patients’ health. Introverts are also constantly drawing connections and comparisons between their observations, allowing them to better understand how patient’s environment and treatment is affecting their changing health.
- Introverts are good listeners. Usually not inclined to talk anyone’s ear off, introverts tend to be excellent listeners, picking up not only on what is communicated verbally, but also through body language. Introverts are experts at taking in and processing a lot of information and cues. This skill could help introverted nurses understand and communicate with both patients and their families.
- Introverts are usually quite intuitive. Not only are introverts adept at taking in communicated information, they are also typically well-versed at “reading” people and acutely aware the unspoken thoughts and feelings of those around them. This gives introverts the ability to manage different personality types and anticipate how others may react to certain situations and circumstances. This trait will also prove beneficial in a patient care setting, as well as dealing with colleagues in high-tension hospital settings.
- Introverts prefer depth to breadth. Because introverts prefer depth of communication rather than surface-level conversations, it’s usually easy for introverts to develop meaningful relationships with people. This trait is extremely beneficial in cultivating rapport with patients and their families, putting them at ease. Introverted nurses will also likely take a great interest in the long-term history of a patient’s health and dig deeply to find the best possible care solutions for each individual patient.
- Introverts are often soft spoken. Their presence puts people at ease, which is especially helpful for providing excellent patient care, making both patients and their families feel comfortable and supported under otherwise stressful circumstances.
As you can see, common characteristics of introverts can be incredibly valuable to nurses in their ability to provide complete and compassionate care to their patients. What are some other ways that introverts make great nurses?
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