Your nursing career and your personality

By | 2015-12-04T03:22:10-05:00 November 29th, 2015|1 Comment

There are nurses who are extroverts and nurses who are introverts, and some who are certainly a mixture of both.

In a world of seemingly limitless personality types, what does your personality have to do with your nursing career? Almost everything.

Your temperament and your career

As a nurse, your temperament has a lot to do with how you approach situations, people and challenges. Does your temperament lend itself to your chosen professional pathway?

If you’re an introverted person, a position that forces you to interact with large numbers of people may not suit you. While you may want to challenge yourself to grow more comfortable with interpersonal communication, being forced to do so during long nursing shifts may not be the best place to practice. Overcoming introversion can be challenging, and there are plenty of ways to do so without torturing yourself at work.

On the other hand, you may be a very extroverted nurse who thrives on interaction. After realizing that you’re unhappy in your new informatics position, you may conclude that informatics may be a great fit in some ways, but you need to shift to providing teaching and training to groups rather than sitting in front of a computer. Informatics may still be appropriate, as long as more interaction is woven into your work.

Get tested

There are a number of reputable personality assessments that can help you to understand yourself, what kinds of professional roles may suit you, and how to cultivate the parts of your personality that you would like to bring forward.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality inventory uses some of Jung’s basic theories, breaking them down into categories and types that help people understand themselves and others. The ways in which you see and interact with the world are crucial to personal development, and undergoing a personality inventory can be enlightening.

Some personality tests can be taken online, while others are better suited for administration by a trained professional. Online tests may reveal certain traits and tendencies, however an educated professional who can offer a scientific interpretation of test results can be invaluable.

The Enneagram and newer forms of personality assessment may not have as strong of a scientific background as the MBTI, but they can still be helpful in assessing your nursing career and the best roads to success.

Consider who you are

Carefully consider who you are and what makes you tick when choosing a career path within nursing. If you have a quantitative and scientific mind, certain types of nursing may be best for you. If you are a gregarious individual with a high need for interpersonal interaction and verbal exchange, there are forms of nursing that may be less suitable.

Be aware of your personality, the ways you think, your emotional makeup and how you process information and experiences. These and other aspects of your personality will provide clues regarding what types of nursing positions and areas of specialty may be best to pursue.

Aspects of your personality may change over time, so keep a finger on the pulse of your personal development and how it relates to your life as a nurse.


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About the Author:

Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC
Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind and the award-winning blog, Digital Doorway. A widely published writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.”

One Comment

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    Lori Stein March 10, 2017 at 9:29 am - Reply

    Introversion is not the same thing as being shy or afraid of interacting with others and is certainly not something that needs to be overcome.

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