The Impostor Syndrome

When working with the leaders of your chosen field, it is easy to be intimidated by the vast experience of your collaborators and mentors. You may even ask yourself what you are doing there at all. You may worry about them realizing that you don’t belong there.

And yet, little by little things change. You gain confidence in your own abilities, you recognize the humanity in others, you may come to the conclusion that ‘if he can do this, so can you’.

Teddy Doctor 'found on weheartit.com'

Teddy Doctor
‘found on weheartit.com’

In Medicine, some transitions happen fast. Before you know it you go from sitting in lectures to taking patient histories, and you feel like a fraud. You wear a white coat and people think you’re the real deal. You feel like you need to break it to them – hey, I’m nothing but a medical student.

As rotations drag on, you realize that not only does stating your lowly medical student status get you nothing but doubt and under appreciation by colleagues and patients, you actually lose time and are less efficient. Yes, you may be the student, as stated on your badge, but you have a job to do. A precious one. Never again will you have this much time to indulge in long patient histories and physical exams the way you do as a student. Soon enough you become competent are the white coat feels like a comfortable armour rather than the strange unfamiliar gear that ‘a real doctor’ would wear (in Europe anyways).

Soon enough, you realize that you are the real deal, and that in a couple of months your signature on prescriptions will bear the full weight of ‘real’ responsibility.

And so the fraud becomes authentic and never questions it again. Most of the time anyways, until you slide on the robe of professor, of department chair, of anything really. It takes time to take on a new role and to believe that you truly belong. Until it fully sinks in that you have made your dreams a reality, little by little.

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