Imposter syndrome can interfere with your ability to care for patients. If these feelings become overwhelming, consider working with a mental health professional.
After a challenging decade trying to match to a residency program without success, I struggled with feelings of failure. When the opportunity finally came to work as a postdoc research fellow, I still doubted my abilities. I’ve worked remotely for the past year during the pandemic and now feel disconnected from my colleagues. The lack of feedback from my peers has caused me to feel even more insecure. Recently, a psychologist introduced me to a term I’d never heard before—imposter syndrome.
What is imposter syndrome (IS)?
IS is a phenomenon in which a person is unable to internalize their success. It’s a chronic feeling of self-doubt and the fear of being an intellectual fraud and it’s associated with feelings of burnout.
How to mitigate IS:
Healthcare professionals, or anyone experiencing feelings of IS, need ways to engage in self-care as they navigate through their learning and/or careers. Here are three things that helped me:
1. Consider working with a therapist, psychologist, and/or psychiatrist.
These professionals can help you learn skills to internalize your worthiness.
2. If you’re experiencing burnout, address it.
Spend time doing activities that help you relax. Yoga and meditation are my favorite.
3. Communicate your feelings with your mentors and supervisors and ask for their support.
This piece expresses the views solely of the author. It does not represent the views of any organization, including Johns Hopkins Medicine.