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Monday, September 25, 2023

A dread auto-critique by a prospective nurse

By Louise Malbranche

Special to CSMS Magazine

Self-criticism is one of the hardest things to do, and every time I am being asked to do this, I can only see the weak links of my state of being. I always believe that speaking about the good side of me is something that is left for others to judge—perhaps, my husband who is a writer and who has the intellectual savvy to either critically acclaim or reject someone’s accomplishments in life.  So, for this essay, I would rather focus on my weaknesses.

As a prospective nurse, I believe it is important to build self confidence. I also know it is quintessential to maintaining a professional composure; otherwise, patients’ faith will simply vanish. However, I sometimes stumble over the procedural steps, especially if I have to embark upon a new task. I am a perfectionist who never stops yearning for flawlessness at its purest, and I get irritated when the elusive perfection does not seem to be at hands.

Shyness is one of my weaknesses, too. I have been fighting to get rid of my timidity for years. If I walk into a social gathering or an academic venue, it is always difficult for me to utter a word. I work hard to conceal my coyness. I clearly understand that coyness is a half encouragement, half avoidance of offered attention. However, I just can’t seem to have a complete grasp over what dreads me to the point where I could feel strong enough to chase the fear away. Some of my friends tend to believe I am easy to be bashful. That is not so, for bashfulness is a shrinking from notice without assignable reason. I have a reason to be intimidated. I am afraid of exposing my professionalism for fear I would be heavily criticized. I usually regain confidence after others begin to praise my work. So, with all intellectual probity, it is always the self-assurance that is missing in me.

One of my dreadful weaknesses is that I can get short-tempered when overwhelmed with stressors. It is not a form of diffidence which may cause self-destruction. I am well aware of this fatal magnitude. My short-temperament usually kicks in when I am busy while at work or in the middle of doing something and I feel bugged down, trapped and mired.  The minute I become aware of the new reality, a contemptuous withdrawal of pride and haughtiness takes hold on me. Then, I take a nose dive for damage control.

It is not a pretty feeling when one’s weakness is exposed. Each time this happens to me, and I aware of it, my demeanor totally changes, switching to a reserved personage holding his oneself aloof from others, or holding back his feelings from expression, or his affairs from communication to others. I suddenly morph into a humble individual coiffed by modesty. When I am at school surrounded by my peers, I always feel a sense of belonging and empowerment. My fear and weakness grow immediately after I am left alone to perform a task. I always execute my duty with almost near perfection. But the fear within me could be quite unbearable.

More and more I feel comfortable handling my medical obligations. I think relentless praises from instructors and peers have finally instilled in my mind the infinite sureness that I have been longing for. But I could still feel the element of shyness, the distinct fear of criticism, error, or failure, trying to creep into my mind, body and soul at the beginning of each new task I have to perform at school. Since I was a child, I have always had a specific meaning for a sensitive shrinking from anything indelicate. However, I have always tried to fight it off with all my strengths. At each moment, where I had to tremble in fear, I always had to take a deep breath before fighting the latest wave of dreadfulness.

In the world of psychology and social work, motivation is my daily obligation, and in my many years of working as a child advocate, I never withdrew from any task—no matter how hard or difficult the task was. So, this brand of weakness, which may have been dormant in me all my life, may not have come to light if it weren’t for this career switch. It is always said that uncomfortable moments are what trigger and expose someone’s weaknesses.

Finally, I have to say that it is a good thing, the fact that I now understand where my weaknesses lie. My experiences as nursing student constitute a great eye-opener as I am poised to tackle a new profession. I am committed to becoming an impeccable nurse, one who will never walk away from what needs to be done to save someone’s life. I have faith in my educational empowerment from which I have gained considerable knowledge to accomplish, with glee not fear, my future tasks as a nurse.

Note: Louise Malbranche lives and works in Saint Augustine, Florida. She wrote this piece exclusively for CSMS Magazine.

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