Other people do it.

Your friends do it.

Your colleagues do it.

Even the little lady who lives down the road does it.

Stay with me here.

I am talking about asking a question to a problem, regarding something you want to know.

As an educator, I have seen so many times, confusion lingering in a student’s eyes, doubt and conflict, yet not one word coming out of their mouths.

In nursing, when someone doesn’t ask me questions, I get a little concerned.

Does it mean they know it all?

Or does it mean, they don’t want to look silly, and would rather wait for someone else to ask the question?

Or doubt their own ability and fear of retribution?

How many times do you hear of people asking questions, and being shot down, or shamed for having an opinion different to management or the senior staff?




Challenges to our self-esteem and confidence are a part of everyday life.  It is part of being human.

There are many reasons why people lack confidence and self-esteem.

To be clear:

Self-confidence is the knowledge that you can succeed at something.

Self-esteem is the ability to like and love yourself and feel valuable, irrespective of all the ups and downs of life.

It comes from your values, beliefs and personal attitude on how you define your self-worth.

A healthy self-esteem is NOT based on what you can do, but rather on how you like yourself because of who you are.

What has this to do with asking questions?


Even though the words self-confidence and self-esteem are bandied around and come in and out of vogue, fundamentally, nursing as a profession can be changed for the better if nurses were more self-confident.




The nursing profession is unfortunately well known for workplace harassment, whether it be patients, allied health, doctors and worse, your colleagues.

With that said, even though the role of a nurse is highly rewarding, it is challenges such as these that cause increased stress, sleepless nights and burnout to name a few.You would'nt worry so much about what others think of you if you realised how seldom they do.

If each and every nurse worked on self-confidence, there would be greater levels of speaking up when treated disrespectfully, advocates for change and innovation that challenge the well researched problems within the profession and bolster a team approach, rather than an ‘every nurse for themselves’ and ‘nurses killing their young’ approach to everyday working conditions.

Yes, I know you have heard this before.

Yes, this is bigger than one person and will take time, perhaps longer than those of us who have been in the profession for a while.

The point here is to create awareness to be aware, things can improve, one nurse at a time.




#1 Check-in on your self-esteem

Being aware of how you feel about yourself is so important when it comes to advancing your self-confidence.

Be truly honest.

No story telling.

Being truly honest and tapping into your own thoughts and emotions are critical to success.

There are loads of small tests available online, remember the focus is #1 is on self-esteem.


#2 Communication

What are you wanting to achieve?

What is the purpose of the conversation?

As a nurse, you are taught ways to communicate with doctors, with charts and processes to help you along the way.

They are excellent tools, but tonality and strength in communication are integral to making the systems work more effectively.

Listen, listen, listen.

Remember, the perception of a situation is everything.

Do not take responsibility for another’s tone, aggression, stress or tantrums.

What they think, feel, do and act has nothing to do with you, irrespective of how resourceful their behaviour is.

You are responsible for your behaviour, how you act and react to the outbursts, both good and bad.


#3 You won’t get gratitude

If you look for appreciation and gratitude, I am sorry to say, it doesn’t happen very often.

Whether it be from your patients or your roster co-ordinator.

For example; You are asked to stay back, and do a double shift. You don’t want to let your team down.  You say yes even though you had plans.

You work the double, it was a hard one, both physically and mentally.

A few ‘thanks’ are thrown around, and secretly inside you feel let down and perhaps a little resentful for all the good work you do, and not even a decent level of gratitude.


"Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do." Dr. Benjamin SpockPeople pleasing comes at a cost and is directly related to #1 your self-esteem.

You chose to nurse because you wanted to help people and make a difference.

Other ways this can be seen, is when nurses put their colleagues down, and ‘out-do’ others.

Interestingly, it can come from poor self-esteem, rather than true self-confidence.

Be aware of where you fit in this.

Gratitude comes from within.

Be thankful for what you have been able to give, without sacrificing yourself.


#3 Enjoy What You Do

I think every nurse, after a period of time, gets to a point where the love of nursing is not enough to keep the passion alive.

If you hate your job…once again be honest.

If you are not enjoying the work, it shows, which in turn affects the quality of care, which in turn affects self-confidence.

If this sounds like you, get in touch, there are ways to get around this.


#4 Learn New Skills

Nursing as a profession is all about life-long learning.

CPD assists with this.

It could be a course in a particular clinical skill you want to improve.

Clinical skill is only a part of it.

What other areas in nursing, and life would you like to learn about?

Do you want to start a business on the side?

Well, do it!

Enrol in the course and get it done.


#5 Embrace Change

Most of us hate change, well I certainly do.

Way back in the day, if I was moved to another ward or unit, I would absolutely hate it and would make myself suffer from the anxiety in my head.

Embracing change is all about being flexible.

Flexible for the unexpected.

If you don’t like your current work environment, change it.

If you don’t like a certain aspect of your health or the way you live, change it.

As you can see, professional improvement starts with personal improvement.

I used to hear a lot or people saying they had their professional side and their personal side.

Years later, I now know this to be totally incorrect.

You should be yourself no matter where you are…this is the self-esteem kicking in.

Liking yourself for who you are, working on the bits you want to change and embracing the parts you are proud of…irrespective of what others think.




Now that you have a little more knowledge on why there are those who are happy to ask questions, and others not so much.

I would like to offer you the chance to ask a burning question around something in nursing, something totally unrelated or something in life.

Click below for more details and to go into the draw to win an Amazon voucher…everyone likes to win something!

Ask your questions and I will over time answer it here, share it on the blog or on social media.


Click here to ask your burning question