During my intern year, the most common feedback I have gotten is the ability to find my voice, own my patients, and have confidence in my plans. Although I am very confident in my personal life, bringing that confidence into my practice takes time. I am sure many of you have heard the “imposter syndrome” idea that many new physicians and residents speak of. It’s the idea that we feel inadequate, unsure, and at times nervous to practice medicine as a “real” doctor. What I enjoy most about residency is the fact that there is always someone there to relay my plans to, someone that will be there when I am delivering a baby, or a voice of reason when my management plan needs some tweaking. Actually, the hierarchy doesn’t stop with me. The senior residents also run their plans by attending and always check-in prior to admitting patients, discharging, or performing certain procedures. Not only does this method allow for us to make sure that our patients are safely managed but also allows for lots of teaching opportunities as well!
So one day as I was walking with one of my senior residents she asked me “what makes you most nervous about starting residency so far?” I responded with the fact that although it’s nice to have so much support, I am nervous about graduating one day and practicing on my own. But the truth is that we as physicians are never truly alone. From the hospital to the office there is always another colleague that we can run our ideas by. There have been so many times when I have witnessed my attendings calling their friends or colleagues regarding questions. Medicine is an intricate field and the idea of “lifetime of learning” is truly a reality. So although I am learning to find my voice and confidence, I can rest assured knowing that there will always be someone who can provide reassurance when I find myself unsure. For the new physicians and residents out there, how have you practiced finding your voice?