When people think of doctors and nurses, they might imagine the epitome of success. They have a prestigious career, a rewarding life’s work, and the opportunity to help people live healthier lives. However, many doctors and nurses go through an obstacle course each day — combatting imposter syndrome. Individuals who suffer from imposter syndrome experience feelings of inadequacy despite evidence of their abilities as intelligent and skilled professionals. Here are a few tips to help you combat the imposter phenomenon in your work as a clinician.
Stop Waiting to be Validated for Your Work
One of the most significant components of imposter syndrome is feeling like you are unworthy. You might feel you don’t deserve to be called a doctor, nurse, or medical practitioner. You might wish that someone would give you a reason you are worthy of the title.
Unfortunately, there’s no answer good enough to convince you. You don’t need a reason or anyone else’s validation that you are a great clinician, just as you don’t need an endorsement to do everyday things like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. Stop waiting to feel worthy and start living your life.
You are a great clinician, and if you find it difficult to believe, know that it’s not because you’re unworthy. It might be imposter syndrome working its way into your psyche.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Many people who suffer from imposter syndrome feel like they are always trying to prove themselves. You compare yourself to your coworkers, peers, and even doctors at other hospitals. However, you cannot compare yourself to others because it makes you lose focus on your work and does not contribute toward improvement or success.
Recognize Your Accomplishments
Reflect on your day. What did you do well? Where can you improve? Recognizing your accomplishments is a great way to combat imposter syndrome because it adds a level of professionalism and worth in your work. Take pride in what you do and recognize your victories. Without this self-recognition, imposter syndrome might get even more out of hand.
Unfortunate situations might cause you to doubt yourself or your abilities. However, these situations should not make you think less of yourself as a clinician. You deal with intricate and complex problems, sometimes more than once in one shift, but it is essential not to let the pressure get to you. Stay confident in your work and capabilities as a clinician.
Seek Guidance When You Need It
There’s no shame in asking for help. If you feel you need advice or support, then ask. You might feel you’re not supposed to need assistance because you’re a clinician. Also, you may think that asking for it will make you seem incompetent, but this simply isn’t true. Whether you seek guidance from a colleague, your manager, or another professional, asking for help is never the wrong choice. Combatting imposter syndrome can be challenging, but it is not impossible.
With effort and dedication, you can overcome the feelings of inadequacy that come with this syndrome. Remember to stay confident in your abilities, seek guidance when needed, and don’t compare yourself to others. You are unique and talented in your way—embrace that!
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