Nursing is a people-focused career, but what if you’re an introvert? Since most introverts work well with others if they have time to themselves to
Nursing is a people-focused career, but what if you’re an introvert?
Since most introverts work well with others if they have time to themselves to recharge, nursing isn’t a career that’s off-limits for those who are shy or introverted. Nursing offers an array of career options, and some of them may be best suited for introverted nurses.
What Is an Introvert?
A person with introverted traits may prefer working in a quiet environment and be more reserved in social settings. Extroverts tend to gain energy from being around other people, but introverts may feel drained after being in a crowd. Introverts gain energy from being or working alone.
Contrary to popular belief, introverts can work well with others and can be great communicators. They just prefer being on their own or having a quiet working environment. At the end of the workday, they might unwind by going for a quiet walk.
Personalities aren’t binary. Psychologists say about 30 to 50 percent of people are neither introverts nor extroverts. These ambiverts combine the best of both traits, interacting well with others while having good listening skills and working well alone or in quiet environments.
Most people have personalities that are not completely introverted or extroverted but are on a spectrum between the two.
While nursing involves caring for others, there are areas of nursing that are tailor-made for people with introverted personality traits or ambiverts.
Best Nursing Careers for Introverts
A busy clinic, emergency room, or hospital ward might be perfect for extroverted nurses who love interacting with others and meeting new people. However, introverted personalities may not thrive in these settings.
For introverts, the following may be the best settings to work as a nurse.
Operating Room Nurse
An operating room nurse is part of the care team throughout a surgical procedure. An operating room nurse may prepare a patient for surgery, transfer the patient to the operating room, and ensure that all surgical tools are ready before the procedure begins.
The nursing career may be perfect for introverts since most interactions are with other surgical team members. The work may be fast-paced and stressful but offers nurses time alone.
Nurse educators can either teach nursing students in a college or, in a hospital setting, help nurses learn best practices and gain additional training, such as ACLS certification.
In a nursing school or hospital, nurse educators must have excellent communication skills, patience, and the ability to work with nursing students, doctors, and other colleagues.
A plus to being a nurse educator is that working hours are usually during the daytime. Weekend and night work is usually not required unless hospital nurses are trained for this purpose.
Nurses who specialize in informatics work as liaisons between nursing staff and information technology departments, ensuring that nurses can access vital patient information. Nurses often manage medical records in hospitals and clinics.
Nursing informatics is a perfect career for those who have a passion for health care as well as computer science. Nurses with this specialty often work alone or in small teams and will need excellent communication and computer skills.
Legal Expert Nurse
Legal expert nurses work with attorneys and law firms, advising them on medical matters related to lawsuits and medical malpractice cases. These nurses may find evidence by combing through medical records and reports.
A plus of this job is that the hours are almost exclusively on weekdays during business hours. Travel could be required so if you are an introvert who loves a change of scenery, the career may be perfect for you.
Legal nurse experts must be experienced nurses who are knowledgeable about health care and medical records. Legal expert nurses often work as consultants.
Private Duty Nurse
Private duty nurses and home health nurses provide care to patients who are not in the hospital. They might provide wound care, treatments, and medication doses and will report patient conditions to their physicians. They may also benefit from ACLS certification.
A private duty nurse fits an introvert’s personality since a limited number of patients will be seen each day. The hours are often flexible, making private-duty nursing an option for nurses who don’t want the demands of working in a hospital setting.
Nurse researchers are scientists who help produce nursing and healthcare studies. They may write research questions, design and conduct studies, collect and analyze data, and report their findings.
The research is often grant-funded, so these nurses may also be skilled grant writers. Often, nurse researchers also teach nursing in academic settings.
Researchers work in academic medical or research centers and often still care for patients, so this career can be the right blend of science and health care for introverts who have a passion for discovery.
Case Manager Nurse
Case manager nurses coordinate care for patients. They often suffer from chronic conditions and need the care of more than one specialist. The nurses assess patients’ conditions and determine what services they need.
Organizational skills are necessary since nurse case managers may help schedule clinic visits or procedures.
Case managers often work alone, sometimes communicating with patients by phone or email. They need excellent communication skills to help patients understand their healthcare needs.
Quality Improvement Manager
Nurses who work in quality improvement study metrics in hospital settings to standardize best practices of care to reduce patient harm from conditions such as hospital-acquired infections, central line-associated bloodstream infections, and catheter-associated urinary tract infections.
Nurses who work to improve quality must be skilled in data analysis, health care, infection control, and communication. Analytical introverts may enjoy using data to improve patient care outcomes and measure progress.
Critical Care Nurse
Nurses who work in intensive care may have unconscious patients who are sedated on a ventilator. The nurses must monitor patients’ vital signs carefully and communicate with physicians about patients’ conditions.
Intensive care units are often quiet. Introverts may enjoy working in this environment more than extroverted nurses who like talking.
Nurses who care for newborns in a nursery or neonatal intensive care settings care for very young babies. In neonatal intensive care units, the babies may be premature or critically ill and require expert nursing care. Often, these nurses are certified in neonatal care.
Caring for babies in a quiet setting may be perfect for introverted nurses. Neonatal nurses still need good communication skills to talk with physicians, coworkers, and their patients’ families.
Night Shift and Weekend Nurses
In hospitals, some units may be quieter at night or during the weekends. There are always exceptions to this rule, but sleeping patients and fewer staff members on duty can make those times better suited to introverted nurses who like working in a quiet environment.
For those who don’t mind the shift hours or working on Saturdays and Sundays, the shifts also have the advantage of higher pay. Another plus for younger introverts and ambiverts on the quiet side is that often these hours are open to nurses who are starting their careers.
Simulation Center Staff
Manikins are used to train nursing students in patient care. The manikins, weighted to be similar to patients, can help students learn how to move patients from a gurney to a hospital bed.
Some of these simulated patients even have respiration rates and blood pressure that instructors can control, allowing student nurses to test their diagnostic skills.
Nurse educators who staff or direct simulation centers in nursing and medical schools may work as much with manikins as with students and coworkers.
They’ll also develop curricula and training involving simulations and will need good communication skills for debriefing students after lessons.
While it may seem that extroverts are a better fit for nursing careers, introverts and ambiverts who lean more toward being introverts have advantages in nursing. Let’s take a look at what they are.
Introverts can be excellent listeners. Listening to what patients say is essential to providing the best nursing care and giving physicians the correct patient information they need.
Introverts often have excellent analytical skills, making them well-suited for research, data analysis, and quality control.
Introverts can have a stronger focus, which can be an advantage for a healthcare team member or researcher.
Introverts may have greater confidence in working independently, making them nurse leadership candidates.
Quiet ambiverts and introverts may find organization and managing time and resources easier than those who lean toward being extroverted.
Finding the Best Nursing Career for Your Personality
Many individuals choose nursing as a career because they have a passion for health care, science, and helping others. Not all nursing involves busy settings and interacting with large numbers of people every day.
The varied nursing career offers opportunities for all personality types, with some paths being best-suited for those who prefer a quiet setting.
When embarking on a career in nursing, you should take advantage of various specializations and certifications, like an ACLS certification.
Nurses on the introverted side can find a meaningful nursing career that allows them to make an impact on improving health care while giving them jobs that fit their personality and play to their unique strengths.