6 Things Only Introverts Working in Healthcare Understand

Nurse looking at the camera while operating a patient.

Are you an introvert working in healthcare? We feel for you. It can be draining, rewarding, and fulfilling all rolled into one. However, although we can thrive in the field due to our innate nature to want to learn, solve problems, provide care, and focus on work, there are a few things only introverts working in healthcare understand.

Work is Work, Sorry Not Sorry

How do you know you’re introverted? When you can’t stand co-workers who try to turn work into a girl’s gossiping session. Jane, we don’t want to hear about the new guy you’re dating. We want to know how John Doe in room 13 is recovering from his surgery this afternoon. Rather than stopping her in her tracks, you do your best to smile through it and redirect the conversation without being rude.

Wanting to Talk But Getting Tired After a Few Minutes

Most of us introverts are natural empaths. Being an empath means that you have the ability to understand the experiences and feelings of others outside of your perspective. With this intuitive feeling, it’s common to want to talk to someone when you feel they want to get something off their chests, are excited to share something with you, or need a shoulder to lean on. However, no matter how much your soul wants to listen to the story, you get antsy after a few minutes and want to get back to work. Talking is draining for most introverts, but it doesn’t mean we don’t care.

No, I Don’t Hate You

Introverts get a bad wrap when it comes to being friendly. People make assumptions about us because they assume that we hate them because we don’t gossip with them in the break room or make an effort to join them for a meal after work. We can also be great at putting our game face on and playing the extrovert, but this becomes exhausting and leads to our batteries running low faster than normal.

“The need for solitude may lead others to believe that you are aloof or unfriendly,” she says. “But introverts learn to perform. We can be so good at performing that people don’t know that we are introverts. I have a nurse face like they talk about someone having a game face. I put it on to perform and do very well. I put that off when I go home.”

My RBF Just Means I’m Thinking

You know the term, and almost all introverts are guilty of having one. The look doesn’t mean anything else other than the fact that we are in deep thought. Sometimes it’s about what you’re saying and how we can contribute a response; other times, we can’t wait for the conversation to be over so we can get back to work. It’s not that we don’t care, it’s just that we are here for one thing, and there are a thousand things on the list that need to get done before shift change.

Having 4 Days Off Allows Us to Recharge

Can we get an AMEN? Working in a hospital setting can be incredibly draining. It’s fast-paced, can require a ton of talking, and due to most introverts being empaths, it can be physically draining as well. Working a 12-hour shift gives us just the right amount of time to recharge and feel refreshed when it’s time to come back to work.

Love Being Your Own Boss

Aside from knowing that you have to start your day and end your day at a certain time, for the most part, you’re in control of your day. You have times you need to prep patients by times you need to make sure patients get their medications and countless times where someone’s call light is it, and you have to run to the rescue to find out if it’s an emergency or they just want another Jell-0 cup. It doesn’t sound like you’re in control, but you are in your own unique way for the most part. An introvert’s dream.

It’s hard to imagine working in any other field after working in healthcare. Working in an office behind a computer all day sounds appealing. Still, the things that come with it including co-workers always knowing where you are when they want to office gossip, the required team lunches, having to participate in after work activities to not seem like the office jerk… there are downsides to being introverted in every field.

Are you an introvert working in healthcare? In the comments below, let us know what pain points you have working in healthcare as an introvert or what you love about it. I love that I can make my own schedule for the most part and that other than patient interactions, I am my own boss for the day, knocking my tasks off the list and making sure patients are taken care of.

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About the author

Ashley Carty

Ashley Carty is a seasoned medical professional with over 8 years of experience working at the top hospitals in Southern California, including Hoag, Saddleback Memorial, and UCSD.

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