Hi. Firstly, a big Thank-you to IntrovertZone for helping me come to terms with being an introvert. I’ve gained so much self-confidence after I discovered this website and began to understand myself better.
I’m 24 years old, recently graduated out of med school, and just started interning in a hospital. I want to know if there are any introverts working in the healthcare field out here, their experiences and inputs as they battle through an extrovert-dominated atmosphere, and also if anyone has anything to say about introverted doctors from a patient’s perspective.
Here are some of my own observations, based on what I’ve seen in my years of med school and now a month of internship:
- I believe introverts are better than extroverts when it comes to communicating with patients. I guess its because of out better listening capacities, vast amount of patience, and ability to empathise with another human being. Also, one-on-one communication works pretty well for us.
- On the other hand, I’m definitely worse off when it comes to communicating with my colleagues and senior doctors… I don’t know if this is just me, or something applicable to introverts in general. Its possibly because I’m not as assertive, tend to use as few words as possible, prefer written communication rather than oral reporting, and cannot act like an energiser bunny to make everyone notice me.
- The energiser bunny issue: I’m a quiet worker. Too much talking, high energy situations for prolonged durations stress me out. Plus, I like to observe first, without jumping into anything: as opposed to my extroverted fellow interns, who will be the first ones to volunteer when an opportunity arises to perform a new procedure for the first time. We introverts then get labelled as lazy, unenthusiastic when we’re actually just making sure we’re well prepared before jumping into something new.
- Thinking before answering: when asked a question, we introverts always fall behind because of our tendency of thinking before answering. And then we get labelled as unintelligent, which is actually not the case. And this unfairness really upsets me when it happens, and then we really have to work extra hard to not come off as dumb.
- I have no explanation for this: Kids love us introverts and are less likely to cry. I really don’t know how that works. I get so nervous around kids, and then they love me they crowd around me. I guess I must be doing something right.
- I’m not popular among doctors. I’m really concerned about this. I don’t know how its going to affect my future, if I’m going to miss out on any opportunities because of it. I try to be nice, to engage in small talk, to make them see that I’m intelligent, a hard worker, pretty good at what I do… but its never good enough. And then an extrovert will swoop in, do some sweet talking and BAM, suddenly I’m a nobody again. All that hard work, all that stress and frustration for nothing. And everytime this happens I just feel like giving up and living in a cave by myself and painting pictures on the walls.
- I’m popular among patients. I dunno how that works. But I am. Is this an introvert thing or just me?
Those are just off the top of my head, and I’m only just beginning my work as an intern. I really want to know if this is just me, or my introversion talking. If anyone has experienced these situations, I would love to hear about them and what you did about them or any other problems that you faced.
I also want to know what people’s impressions of an introvert in a healthcare setting are… If you think an introvert would make a good doctor, if you think any introvert characteristic gets in the way of being a good doctor, or if I should just plain change my job (does anyone know of any caves that I can spend the rest of my life in, painting on the walls? )
I’m really anxious (and curious) about how being a doctor is gonna turn out, if I’m gonna emerge a winner or a loser at the end of it, and how to make it in this high-pressure, stressed for time, loud, not-introvert-friendly atmosphere. And really, anything that you’ve gotta say will be greatly appreciated.
(Wow that was really long.)
Thanks for reading until the end! Hope I didn’t bore you to sleep