Just like in any other line of work, specific personality traits are needed to succeed in Psychiatric Nursing. They need to be more emotionally intelligent than the general population as well as excellent problem solvers and critical thinkers. They also need to be excellent character judges and passionate about caring for those with mental illnesses.
It’s important for psychiatric nurses to be assertive. It’s just that not everyone realizes how beneficial this trait can be in their line of work.
This can be attributed to the fact that being assertive is seen in a negative light by some. It’s often confused with aggressiveness which can be a problematic trait in nurses. These are two very different characteristics, though. All it takes is a better understanding of both to see how the two differ. See the comparisons below.
Assertiveness vs. Aggressiveness
What’s the difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness?
Assertiveness is defined as being able to confidently stand up for your opinions without needing to threaten the rights of another. It’s the ability to declare that your opinion is true and worth considering or pursuing.
It’s considered a diplomatic communication style that requires mutual respect. It shows that you respect yourself so you will stand up for what you believe in while being aware of others thoughts and opinions.
Aggressiveness, on the other hand, completely disregards other people’s stand on the matter just to push for what they think is right. They can use various techniques to get what they want, most of which involves feeling superior.
Assertiveness goes a long way than aggressiveness because it doesn’t elicit negative feelings between the clashing parties. This is very important for mental health nurses to achieve as they need to establish smooth-sailing relationships with their patients and co-workers alike.
Assertiveness Leads to Better Communication
To effectively assert your stand, the ability to communicate well is a must. So if you’re assertive, you can naturally improve your communication skills. You’ll be able to deliver your message clearly without hurting other people’s feelings.
This is important in the mental healthcare department as you can’t provide support to your patients without communicating well. You have to understand your patient’s feelings and your patient will need to be receptive to your suggestions so you can help them with their recovery.
Assertiveness can Lessen Job-Related Stress
Being assertive can also help you as a mental health nurse in dealing with the stressors that come with the job. This profession is already stressful as it is so you shouldn’t make things worse by adding unnecessary things on your plate.
By being able to communicate your opinions and feelings to the people you work with, you can avoid conflicts. It can create a healthier relationship with your peers so you can enjoy and do better in your tasks even more.
How to Be More Assertive
Being assertive can be learned at any point in time. All it takes is some courage and determination to improve the way you communicate with others. To help you get started, here are a few tips that can help you become more assertive:
- Always try to understand the situation better before taking any action. If you don’t grasp what others are telling you, have them break it down for you by asking, “what do you mean?”
- Be reasonable and put yourself in others’ shoes before making a decision.
- Listen actively and try to suggest solutions when conflicts arise.