Overcoming Social Anxiety as a Travel Nurse

by Howard Gerber on December 21, 2017

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nursing social anxietyTravel nurses routinely deal with patients, staff, and doctors. In fact, nursing is one of the most people-focused careers you can choose. With all that interaction, can someone with social anxiety be successful as a travel nurse?  The answer is yes. Learning more about social anxiety and what you can do to find ways to deal the condition can help you thrive as a travel nurse.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of American, about 7% of the population has social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety involves an intense fear of interactions with others. People with social anxiety may fear being embarrassed, rejected, or negatively evaluated. It’s also very common for people with the disorder to be afraid they will appear anxious to others, which only intensifies their anxiety.

Symptoms of social anxiety may vary, but they typically include nervousness, shaking, and negative emotional cycles. Additional symptoms may include a racing heart, sweating, and dry mouth.

How Does Social Anxiety Affect Working as a Nurse?

Social anxiety can affect nurses in a variety of ways. Nurses may fear to talk with other medical staff. They may fear they will look incompetent or anxious. Anxiety may also strike nurses when they meet new patients and their family members.

Travel nurses may also face additional challenges, such as meeting all new people in a short timeframe. Interactions with new neighbors or co-workers can be a source of stress.

It might seem that if you have social anxiety that it would be impossible to work as a travel nurse. That does not have to be the case. Many nurses with social anxiety develop ways to deal with the condition. Plus, working as a travel nurse may be a good option since you can try different environments and see what feels most comfortable.

Coping Tips

The good news is it’s possible to find solutions to social anxiety so that you can work as a travel nurse with confidence. Consider some of the following tips to cope with the disorder:

Seek professional help: You can’t talk yourself out of social anxiety. It does not mean you are weak or crazy if you seek help for a problem. Instead, getting professional help is the best way to develop strategies to overcome social anxiety.

Try cognitive behavior therapy: Cognitive behavior therapy can be effective for people with social anxiety. When treating social anxiety, cognitive behavioral therapy involves engaging in activities that cause mild anxiety and developing new ways to handle the feelings.

Consider medication: There are effective medications for anxiety that would not interfere with your ability to do your job. Although medication may not be right for everyone, it can help in cases where behavior therapy is not effective.

Remain positive: It can be difficult to stay upbeat if you are dealing with anxiety, but a positive attitude can help. Try to keep perspective and use healthy techniques and strategies to deal with stress. It may not happen overnight, but you can control social anxiety and not have it control you!

Are you a nurse with social anxiety? If so, we would love to hear how you dealt with the situation in a positive manner.

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