About a year ago, I was on my cardiology rotation. One of my mentors, who I had worked with clinically and in research multiple times, was attending. We were discussing my interest in Cards, and encouraged me to consider EP. I offhandedly said, “I don’t think I’m smart enough for EP.” My mentor did not let me off the hook for that. He assured me that I was plenty smart enough, and told me, quite firmly, that I should not sell myself short.
I didn’t realize how bad of a case of imposter syndrome I had until that moment. In medical school, I was a “middle of the road” student- not stellar but not struggling either. But I didn’t do well on Step exams, or NBMEs. It didn’t matter that my clinical evals, and later, my evals as a resident, have generally been stellar- I still had a perception of myself as the one who “slipped through the cracks.” Every now and then, an article like the JAHA one pops up, or I overhear attendings discussing who they consider “good” candidates, and that feeling just gets confirmed.
So I’ve since made an effort to change both my inner and outer self-talk. I gas myself up a lot. It’s usually in a jovial tone, but I figure if I say “I’m a great doctor” enough times out loud I will believe it in my heart. I try to squash the self deprecating talk. And I use my natural tendency to doubt myself for good — I’m more thorough, I listen to and seek out outside opinions, and I look up articles to support evidence based practice, all things that I think are positives!
(Also shoutout to my patron and insta-buddy, @realworldnp!)
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