It’s the beginning of the new academic year. And, many of you have just started your journey in the radiology world. Others are beginning their first foray into fellowship or as an attending. In each of these situations, you will likely start to doubt yourself. In the case of a first-year resident, other physicians will ask you questions that you believe they know more about than you do. As a fellow, you are probably not familiar with all the subtleties in your area of “expertise.” And, as a new attending, it will be hard to believe that your name will go at the bottom of the report, possibly alone. How can you handle all this responsibility? Are you even worthy? In each of these situations, you are undergoing the throes of imposter syndrome. You feel like you don’t have the knowledge and confidence to play your role in the healthcare system. So, what do you do?
Solutions To Imposter Syndrome
Act The Role
Now I don’t want you to get you in trouble. Of course, don’t say things that can negatively affect patient care, especially if you don’t know a topic that can affect a patient’s morbidity or mortality. However, if a resident or attending stops by to look at a film, don’t hesitate to say yes. Go through the case. Look at the priors and the report. Each time you look at cases with other staff, you develop a little bit more confidence in your consulting role.
Additionally, make yourself available for all procedures. Each time you perform the subsequent barium study, PICC line, or paracentesis, your hands and brain become slightly more familiar with the technique. This process allows you to feel more comfortable in your skin. Eventually, you will feel like you know what you are doing!
Becoming good at a role involves becoming a good actor at first. Eventually, the acting job will turn into your career, assuming you put in the work. And, you will feel like you know you are doing!
Read A Lot
As you probably know by now, radiology involves a lot more reading than most other specialties. And, this fact is due to the overlap we have with so many different specialties and the core examination. If you are not reading, you sure will feel like an imposter. At a conference, everything sounds like mumbo jumbo chicken gumbo. With the clinicians, you will be at a loss. But, that all changes once you start reading intently. I promise. You will be able to answer questions and feel comfortable in your skin, whether reading films or other complicated radiology tasks.
Get Involved Actively In Your Specialty
Those that know a lot of other people in their career will rarely feel like an imposter. If you know all the “muckity mucks” locally, regionally, or nationally, you will feel much more grounded and connected to the world of radiology. So consider heading out there and meeting and networking at the RSNA, AUR, ARRS, and more. (especially when the pandemic eventually subsides!) Or, get involved in your hospital administration by participating in conferences, GME, or other resident administrative roles. Each time you do so, you will feel more invested in radiology and less likely to catch imposter syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome And Radiology: You Can Overcome It!
It’s only a few simple steps that can move you down the road from imposter to maven. And acting the role, reading, and actively getting involved in your specialty are just some of the simple ways to move in that direction. Most of us feel like a bit of an imposter from the get-go. We have never done anything quite like radiology before starting our radiology track. But, you don’t need to stay in that position for long. It’s a bit of work to end imposter syndrome. So, get cracking!